A Federal Judge in New York issued an order on Thursday to temporarily block construction of the new Panama City Airport until a formal hearing can be held on December 18th. The Friends of PFN, the Defenders of Wildlife, and the Natural Resources Defense Council sued the FAA last year to turn over the Record of Decision the FAA issued for the construction of the new airport in West Bay.
Other information on the airport relocation can be found here.
I want to encourage discussion. When I first started pcbdaily.com more than a year ago, the airport relocation was all over the news. I had tons of people opposing the relocation post comments, and I don’t remember one valid point.
One example was the opposing argument that we don’t need a new airport, the one we have is at half capacity, so much so that new airlines won’t even come. Our airport is at half capacity, that is a fact. BUT, you have to realize, most people don’t fly out of here. I don’t know one person (and I know many that travel) that flies out of here voluntarily except on the rare occasion it is cheaper to fly out of here than drive to Ft. Walton or Tallahassee. Almost at any given time, it is double to fly out of PFN than it is from VPS. Am I going to drive 90 minutes to save 200 bucks? You bet I am, and so is everyone else. And, new airlines won’t even think about coming here because the runway does not currently meet FAA standards for a safe landable runway.
Opposition: what about the 4,000 acres of land that is going to be cleared, paved, built upon, developed, etc.? You mean the St. Joe-owned land that had been used to FARM pine trees for the production of paper and was harvested every 10 to 20 years for decades. The land that eventually could be homes, office buildings, etc.? What about the 14,000 acres donated specifically for conservation including almost all of the waterfront shoreline of the West Bay area (I don’t need to say, the most valuable). What about the waters in the bay system and the estuary that would be damaged if the current runway was extended out into the bay to make the current runway up-to-standards? After all, the environmentalists had a problem with this too years ago. What are we supposed to do? We can’t bring the existing airport up to code and can’t build a new one?
Tell me, opposition, what do you suggest?