The more you dig, the more the whole Hilton Head Island Airport issue smells.
The politically stated goal for the airport is to do everything possible to retain commercial service. For the most part, everyone agrees. The question is: What do we need to maintain commercial service? That debate needs to include the trend of replacing with turboprops the noisier, less economical, less comfortable regional jets.
A recent letter to the editor referred to an increased "tax" now being charged to passengers departing from Hilton Head. Effective May 1, each ticket is charged $4.50 to pay for airport costs not covered by the Federal Aviation Administration, which has reduced its share from 95 percent to 90 percent. To make up the difference, Beaufort County Council received approval to collect the additional fee on each ticket until 2022. This will bring in $250,000 to $300,000 a year from customers flying commercially out of Hilton Head. Now, County Council says this is still not enough to pay for land, rerouting roads, etc., and asked the FAA to allow then to collect the fee until 2026.
Here's the insanity of this: Force a carrier now serving our island to be less competitive, all under the scheme of saving commercial service.
Please County Council, your information is outdated, and it's time to take a timeout and rework this project. Who has the nerve to lead on County Council?
Hilton Head Island