The article appearing in the Mountain Democrat on Aug. 8, regarding the Mather Airport expansion hearing by staff writer Julie Samrick, was a biased editorial with misleading information with no evidence to back her facts. She provided only one position on the topic. There was no reporting on the positive economic results of this expansion.
Ms. Samrick reports that, “approval would turn a small airport into an air cargo hub.” Mather Field is no small airport. Cameron Airpark and Placerville can be classified as small airports. Mather is a former SAC (Strategic Air Command) base and Mather Field’s 11,000-foot runway handled large aircraft as the KC 135 stratotanker and the B-52 bomber. As we know, Mather Field already handles cargo flights daily.
These jet aircraft operate at a significant reduced noise and pollution levels than ever before. Jet engines are constantly being upgraded to reduce noise, pollution and fuel consumption. Less fuel consumed is less operating costs.
Ms. Samrick further states that numerous studies have revealed that there will be a loss of billions of dollars in local property taxes due to devaluation of home prices, caused by the increased air traffic. Ms. Samrick does not identify these numerous studies, or how these billions of lost dollars were calculated. Without verification, one can only be in suspect of the report’s validity and billions in lost revenues reported.
Where is the reporting on the positive economic results of this expansion? Obviously with the expansion comes new buildings, construction of service and maintenance facilities, operation offices, increased fuel sales, service and support vehicles, the increase in landing fees and lease/rental services. I am sure there are many more projects to add. How many jobs will be needed and how much does this grow the local economy?
When I look up and see a FedEx or a UPS flight inbound to Mather, my first reaction is to smile and think here comes commerce; with commerce comes economic growth and perhaps the package I just ordered. There are those who would wish to see this commerce go somewhere else. Perhaps Stockton, with the mindset, “As long as it’s not in my backyard.” Remember, Mather Field was here long before many of you arrived and staked your claim and then loudly pronounced no more growth or development.