General aviation needs to be promoted
Oh, the airport! Clearly, the past decade for our airport represents a trend that is discouraging and lead us all to wonder what other uses might be better served. We do live in a mountain community and any number of disasters could cut us off from the rest of the world. If nothing else, the airport may be our only lifeline. However, we would all agree that the
airport cannot continue to be supported only on the premise that a natural disaster may someday occur.
How do we as a community capitalize on one of the city’s assets? I attended a City Council candidates forum back in October 2000. Gunnar Henrioulle made a comment that I have spend some time contemplating. He said, “The airport should be a transportation hub.” You know, I think he is 100 percent right. When one begins to think of the airport as a transportation hub all kinds of possibilities surface.
The city could house the bus operation out at the airport. Perhaps some of our licensed taxi operators would also negotiate to rent space that is already available and run their businesses out of the airport. United parcel Services could be approached to determine the benefits of operating out of a Transportation Center. Amtrak and Greyhound should be encouraged to
look at the same benefits.
Imagine welcoming visitors (whether by ground or by air) to our beautiful mountain resort with a Transportation Center Terminal that mirrors a mountain lodge, complete with high vaulted timber beams, a large fireplace, and a solid glass front and back.
You see, simply by referring to the airport as a transportation hub, the sun begins to break through the dark clouds that have hung over the airport for some time now. And a transportation hub by no means excludes general or commercial air services.
General Aviation needs to be promoted. Our current general aviation service provider, Oasis, must be encouraged to either invest in their business or move out. As all of us know, you need to invest money to make money.
Commercial aviation will happen. But, commercial service needs to be viewed as icing on the cake. We have experienced for ourselves the disappointment when all of our eggs are in one basket. That is a mistake we cannot afford to repeat.
I believe the investment and sacrifices that we as a community are making today will pay dividends in the future. Transportation will be a key factor in our success. The airport, as it stands today, is underutilized, neglected and inefficient. A transportation hub offers options, opportunities, and a source of revenues which are sorely needed.
– Brooke Laine is a South Lake Tahoe City Councilmember
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