Sun, Jan 15, 2012
Strong Economic Contribution Of Airport Draws Support
It's difficult to move forward with an airport improvement
program in the current political climate, especially in California.
But with the support of its business community, the Sonoma County
Board of Supervisors Tuesday unanimously approved an $84 million
upgrade to Charles M. Schulz–Sonoma County Airport it says
will enhance safety, add a new passenger terminal, provide longer
runways and allow mid-sized commercial jets to land at the airport,
which is located in Santa Rosa.
At the moment, the only commercial service at the airport is
offered by Horizon, with five daily flights serving Los Angeles,
Las Vegas, Portland and Seattle. The North Bay Business Journal
reports the county plans to attract up to 21 flights per day by
2030. To do that, the plan would extend runway 14/32 by 885 feet to
6,000 feet long, and extend the crosswind runway 1/19 by 200 feet,
to 5,204 feet. That, and repairs and safety upgrades, would cost
$42 million. The other half of the estimated total would be spent
on cargo space, a new terminal and tower improvements once
increased traffic justifies the expenditure.
The economic case, based on numbers from the county's planning
commission, is a no-brainer. The commission finds that 11 or 12
daily flights by 2015 would mean $282 million in economic activity
and 900 jobs. But NIMBYs concerned about air and water pollution
and noise are on alert, and the planning commission is already
proposing a voluntary curfew to limit early-morning and late-night
The county would depend on 95 percent funding from the FAA.
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