Mon, Jun 14, 2004
Presentation Complete With Sound Effects
The Texas Department of Transportation was mighty impressed last
week when leaders from Athens and Henderson County presented their
proposal for increased funding to Athens Municipal Airport.
The Athens Review reports almost 30 leaders from both
governments crowded into a small room for the presentation, which
included the sound of a Gulfstream jet overflying Athens on its way
to an airport with a runway capable of accommodating it.
TxDOT Aviation Director David Fulton was reportedly startled by
the huge turnout, saying, "In fact, it's as good as any I've seen
in the last 30 years," he said. "It shows us that you've done your
The city-county delegation reportedly told TxDOT:
- Not having a runway for larger corporate jets has a tremendous
negative impact on economic development in Henderson County.
- Athens Municipal Airport usage is up almost 14 percent over the
last five years.
- Twenty-seven jet owners have indicated they would use Athens
Municipal if it had an adequate runway.
- Athens Municipal has 8,000 operations per year, which is
projected to increase to 20,000 by the end of this decade.
- Henderson County is the 45th largest county in Texas, but its
only public-use airport runway is much shorter than runways in
similar size and much smaller counties.
- Projections of growth from the Texas State Data Center estimate
Henderson County will have 95,308 residents by the year 2010.
- The new airport runway is critical to the infrastructure needed
to maintain economic growth.
- The average time needed to land in Tyler and drive to Athens is
about one hour.
"You have made a very persuasive presentation," Fulton said after
Athens AOPA member Chip Perryman finished his Powerpoint
presentation. At least two members of the TxDOT delegation said
they would support the idea of expanding Athens Municipal.
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