Letters to the Editor

Facts, not opinions, needed on airport issue

A decision has been made to propose to the Federal Aviation Administration that the Hilton Head Island Airport runway be extended in two phases, first to 5,000 feet and then to 5,400 feet.

However, discussions, legal actions and related activities continue. Why? Perhaps the decision is not the best choice and, if so, the decision makers (Beaufort County; the Town of Hilton Head Island) would have a very difficult time reopening discussions and acknowledging that there might be a better option, including a proposal to extend it to 4,720 feet.

A referendum to affirm public support for the proposal would put further discussions to rest. But that choice has already been rejected. Barring such a vote, the only compelling reason to consider alternatives at this point would be a push-back from a majority of area residents questioning the decision and asking that other options be evaluated. For that to happen we would all need to review the facts and presumably come to the conclusion that a better choice exists.

But what exactly are the facts? Herein is my dilemma. I have a hard time separating fact from opinion. For every one fact, there seem to be many opinions, interpretations, assumptions. I'm not sure I even understand the fundamental reason the runway needs to be extended. Is it a safety issue? Economic issue? I would like an unbiased, impartial, no-ax-to-grind group or individual to step forward with -- in the words of the late Jack Webb -- the facts ma'am, just the facts. Are you out there?

Bob Soltys

Hilton Head Island