On Wednesday, Governor Charlie Crist signed a $66 billion budget that included $12 million for the construction of the new Panama City Bay County International Airport and the road that connects it from Highway 388.
The Panhandle Citizens Coalition had written a letter to Crist explaining why he should veto the funding for the new airport citing, as reported by the News Herald, that the airport was voted against in a non-binding referendum and that it has been under litigation.
I should remind John Hedrick, Chairman of the Panhandle Citizens Coalition that the non-binding referendum was just that, non-binding. In addition, it was held during a democratic primary with only 23% of Bay County’s registered voters turning up at the polls to vote. 10.5% voted yes and 12% voted no, a difference of around 1500 people of the total 90,000 registered voters in Bay County. Not to mention that 2/3rds of all those that use our airport aren’t registered voters of Bay County.
Randy Curtis was quoted as saying that the lack of the state funds would not shut the project down, but the funds were approved and construction is still speedily moving forward.
Of course, the misinformed, narrow-minded Tampa Tribune has spoken again stating that “The airport is not needed. The existing Panama City airport is underutilized. The grandiose $331 million airport project in the middle of nowhere would destroy 2,000 acres of wetlands.”
I love how outsiders seem to have such a strong opinion of local things they know little about.