Letter — Losing airport would be costly | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Letter — Losing airport would be costly

The phrase environmental extremists is fast becoming redundant. Finding themselves painted into a corner over the value of the airport in fighting nearby forest fires, the League to Save (from what) Lake Tahoe now defies all common sense and their own stated principals by claiming a meadow is a better place than an airport to refuel helicopters fighting forest fires! Sadly, after a month of thought and deliberation, the only proof of their “truth” was a confused statement from an unnamed official that was “unaware” of the nature of the tower operations relative to coordinating air traffic during refueling operations.

Worse is their intentionally misrepresenting the economic reality of their dream of eliminating the airport; simply close it and decide where to spend $600,000 a year!

Promoting such falsehoods only perpetuates public confusion which hinders public officials from making sound decisions. The reality is, if you could close this facility which was built by federal grant funds, you are required to repay those funds.

According to the latest letter from the FAA plus similar grants from Caltrans and other loans, the minimum cost to close the airport is $15,746,614. So when these extremists come with check in hand we can debate the indirect economic benefits of the airport for local prosperity versus alternate uses. Until then let us clear the smoke and work together to make the best use of this asset.

Bill Kolstad, Jr.


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