Letters to the Editor

Commercial service should drive decisions

The point being made by a Palmetto Hall resident and the one being ignored in the intention to extend the runway is the confusion over the position of the commercial carriers in this whole debate.

Early on, they assured the Planning Commission that the length of the Hilton Head Island Airport runway was not the issue. The present length or a slight extension (within the present footprint, plus aggressive trimming of the trees) would allow then to continue service to Hilton Head well into the future. A new generation of airplanes was being developed that could handle the demands of this area.

What was not being discussed was the special interest of the private jet group, and justly so, since that element's interest for longer runways should not be on the taxpayer's nickel, as were the hangars for private aircraft built with taxpayer dollars but without generating enough revenue to pay the bonds used to finance the project.

I would hope that we can delay this push to have plans drawn for an estimated cost of $650,000 even before any assurances of reimbursement from our debt-ridden government.

If the commercial carriers make the case that unless the runway is extended beyond the present footprint, they will terminate service, then I think the majority of the residents would support that project. Conversely, if this extension is solely for the benefit of private jets, let's have a referendum on that.

Charlie Sinatra

Hilton Head Island

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