TO THE EDITOR:
I live in rural Orange County on a horse farm of 32 acres surrounded by woods.
I realize the importance of the Area Health Education Center's work to our state and to UNC.However I do not concur with the line of reasoning for needing a new airport.
I have spoken with many AHEC doctors and they are not aware of Senate Bill 1925 nor do they have any issue with flying out of RDU. I think using them as the reason for a new airport is a smoke screen.
The mission of UNC is education not economic development. If this was about economic development then let the process go through the proper channels to see if the airport would be viable and accepted rather than steamroll it by using eminent domain and taking farms which have been in families for generations possibly destroying watersheds and creating all kinds of environmental issues while excluding the Orange County Commissioners and other local officials.
AHEC only accounts for a fraction of the flights out of Horace Williams and to my knowledge" these flights are decreasing.
The 2005 Talbert and Bright study showed that the No. 1 site was Raleigh-Durham International Airport for many reasons. I note that the 2008 Talbert and Bright study showed a need for a longer runway to land larger aircraft. RDU can handle all of this with no additional costs to the taxpayer.
This line of reasoning of spending $2 million for a hanger at RDU and then possibly spending an additional $50 million or more for a new airport is tax inefficient. Doctors can be helicoptered over to RDU if necessary for far less money than the additional $48 million that would need to be spent to take land and build the new airport.
Using taxpayer money in the name of education to take land and build the ""airport to nowhere"" seems ludicrous when the education system needs money for infrastructure growth and the impending increase in students.
This smells of special interest and ego. Wealthy UNC alums landing their personal planes to attend games" being able to charter a special jet to take the UNC basketball or football team to games and so on.
The economics of this just do not wash out as far as AHEC's mission is concerned and the public needs to know the real story behind who is really pushing this.
The new airport is not a prudent or responsible course of action for UNC's AHEC program the taxpayer or the state.