Airport Hallucinations: Montgomery County Airport seeks $633K funding for parallel taxiway for empty airport

Airport Hallucinations: Montgomery County Airport seeks $633K funding for parallel taxiway for empty airport

Image: Typical image of some of the runways and taxiways at the Montgomery County Airport, as seen from the control tower.

Conroe, June 26 – Montgomery County Airport Director Scott Smith and Precinct 1 County Commissioner Mike Meador are seeking to spend $633,800 (!) of taxpayer money to construct a $6,338,000 parallel taxiway at the largely-empty Montgomery County Airport. The remainder of the funds would come from a Texas Department of Transportation grant.

At a time when taxpayers are having to tighten their belts due to difficult economic conditions and citizens are moving towards open revolt over skyrocketing property taxes throughout the State of Texas, spending more than $600,000 to build a parallel taxiway for an empty airport is unthinkable, unless Smith and Meador intend to present a winning Texas Lotto ticket to the Commissioners Court on Tuesday, June 27, 2017, at 9:30 a.m.

Parallel taxiways make economic sense when airports experience substantial congestion due to high air traffic volume. On a typical day, however, the Montgomery County Airport is almost empty. Rarely are there more than half a dozen planes, helicopters, or other flight vehicles on the runways and taxiways of the Airport. While Meador and Smith may dream of a busy facility in the distance future, the Montgomery County Airport does not even come close.

Furthermore, there has been little indication that the County Airport has had any economic impact whatsoever on the geographic areas near the facility. The commercial property near the Airport is largely undeveloped. The R.A. “Mickey” Deison Technology Park remains empty despite its beautiful – and expensive – infrastructure.

Even if Smith and Meador had the funds available, this proposal is a fiscal embarrassment. The Commissioners Court should look to spend long-term capital funds on the Airport wisely, if at all.

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