Letter to the editor- Airport info from official
To the editor:
Let’s start out by examining the VMT (vehicle miles traveled) situation. People traveling by ground transportation impact the basin’s air quality from the time they leave Echo Summit, Spooner Summit, Kingsbury Grade and Luther Pass and head for town. Those who enter via the airport and rent a car, go by cab, or other transportation, impact the basin’s air quality from the airport to town.
Pick a place at random, say Lake Tahoe Boulevard and Ski Run Boulevard as the destination. It is approximately eight miles from Luther Pass and Echo Summit to the airport. For every car leaving the airport it saves eight miles VMT. If 1,000 cars enter the basin from these passes, it makes sense to see we have saved 8,000 VMT. I, also, am a product of public schools so I hope that figure is right. Those entering over Kingsbury Grade will get to Ski Run with the same mileage as those from the airport, so let’s scratch Kingsbury as a break-even.
Those coming in over Spooner will travel about 15 miles to Ski Run Boulevard. Since Ski Run is approximately eight miles from the airport, this leaves seven miles more VMT. Again, 1,000 cars make a savings of 7,000 miles.
So seven plus eight makes 15 miles. That saves 15,000 miles for every 1,000 cars entering our area. Therefore, unless I messed up somewhere, the airport can save VMT, unless Jim Hildinger has another number to tell us about.
This savings of miles traveled is one of the goals shared by the League to Save Lake Tahoe, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and all of us. Again, looking at the question, “Is the airport necessary?” – you bet it is. These figures represent a one-on-one passenger/car situation. When you figure the average passenger load of three per airplane and three per car, things look even brighter. Most passengers arriving by corporate jet or turboprop aircraft will be traveling in the same vehicle – be it a car, taxi, limo or shuttle bus, even further saving VMT overall. Most general aviation four- to six-seat aircraft have the same polluting problems as the auto, also one-on-one. Jet and turboprop aircraft pollute more, but for all aircraft the length of time they pollute is considerably less than vehicle times.
Let’s also address the noise levels that Hildinger relates to. Just stand on any corner along U.S. Highway 50 from Meyers to Spponer and listen to the noisefor 10 minutes, then go to the airport and the approaches to same and stand there for 10 minutes. Notice any difference? You bet, much quieter.
Just as another “fact” I present: The airport has had seven noise complaints the past month; five from exempt military aircraft and two from general aviation. This is a great record by any standards. Another fact: Ninety percent of all complaint calls are from the same people each time. It seems to me most people really don’t notice and/or don’t mind a few aircraft flying by.
I’m out of space now, but I will be back.
South Lake Tahoe Civil Air Patrol
and airport commissioner
South Lake Tahoe
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