In the upcoming November 8th election there are two open seats for the Truckee Tahoe Airport Board. Two of the four candidates would have you believe that airport users are being subsidized by taxpayer money (Chris Henderson and Mary Hetherington). These candidates are claiming that you are either for the community or for pilots, and there is no middle ground.
The other two candidates (Kat Rohlf and Mike Daniel) are arguing for a more balanced view of things. They see the airport, like our schools and transportation infrastructure, as a critical asset to our community. They also recognize that with the benefits of economic impact come costs, notably noise, that require constructive solutions to mitigate.
Why This Matters:
We need board members who are objective, balanced, and are fiduciaries to the Truckee Tahoe Airport community We cannot afford to vote for candidates with personal agendas who seek to starve the airport of resources, price out locals, while working against safety and community impact in the process.
To set the facts straight about the debate going on surrounding the airport:
Myth: The Truckee Airport is subsidizing users and wasting taxpayer’s money
The Fact: Not only does the airport already make a profit on its users, but it provides more than 10 times the benefit to the community that it receives in property taxes. A 2017 study initiated by the Airport Board found that the airport contributed almost $74 million in economic activity to the region. The 2023 budget is also predicting a net operating income of about $9.8 million dollars. This does not mean that more cannot be done to run the airport more efficiently, but the subsidy argument just isn’t true.
Myth: Unless I use the airport, I don’t benefit from it.
The Fact: In addition to the huge net economic benefit stated above, the airport is an important strategic base for wildfire protection, as well as a base for care flight and search and rescue operations. Contributing to services you don’t use is part of being in a community. For example, you still pay for school if your children no longer use them. The airport also gave over a million dollars to local area non-profits and other agencies, just last year (click here to view the 2022 budget). The list is long and includes great organizations like:
Boys and Girls Club of North Lake Tahoe
Truckee Parks and Recreation
Tahoe Cross Country Ski Education Association
Gateway Mountain Center
North Tahoe Public Utility District
Truckee Chamber of Commerce
Tahoe Mountain Bike Association
Biking for a Better World
Highway 267 TNT TMA Resort Triangle Bus Route
Zagster Bike Sharing Service
Humane Society of Truckee Tahoe
Myth: Flying into or out of the Truckee Tahoe Airport is a bargain
The Fact: The airport is already one of the most expensive in the country, with a current fuel price of $9.11/gallon and high rates for facilities. In the last 20 years, all new hangars were constructed using zero tax dollars and were profitable day one. Extracting more revenue without completely gentrifying the airport will require intelligent policy that treats large commercial operators and people learning to fly differently. Kat and Mike recognize that these users are not the same, and advocate protecting local nonprofits that Mary has been seeking to force out.