However, none of the total eight sites in the study were determined feasible.
By Brande Poulnot |
Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport’s study, requested and funded by the Federal Aviation Administration, determined that converting the Cartersville airport to a commercial passenger service airport would have cost more than doing the same at the other seven — Dobbins, Gwinnett County, Dawson/Forsyth, Barrow County Winder, Cherokee County, Cobb County and Paulding NW Atlanta. Those considered were whittled down from 29 in the preliminary screening analysis.
“It’s not surprising that the study determined that Cartersville wasn’t one of the best potential sites,” said Mayor Matt Santini. “It’s certainly not something the city or the county was pushing for. I don’t see where Cartersville would be interested in having commercial passenger service out at the airport. There’s already a lot going on out there with adding to it.”
The study determined costs for earthwork and site preparation at the Cartersville airport would be higher than any of the others, while on-airport facilities and off-airport estimated costs were deemed above average. Land acquisition along with environmental and legal services, would be below average for the local facility.
In addition, Cartersville is one of the three sites with the least market potential, according to the study. The location would also present significant environmental issues.
“It was surprising to me that Cartersville was even included. If you take a look at our current airport, it certainly doesn’t lend itself to large passenger jets and it’s not in an area conducive to a lot of heavy passenger airplanes, getting people in and out,” Santini said. “I would think if we decided we were going to have a commercial airport out there, we would have a lot of unhappy folks that are traveling by there for [Woodland] High School and it’s right there adjacent to a residential area.
“I think we were on there because of geography — certainly being situated conveniently up [Interstate] 75 half way between Atlanta and Chattanooga. If geography was one of the major factors they looked at in getting that top eight, that’s probably why we were on there.”
The study concluded Dobbins Air Reserve Base would be the best site in both market potential and development costs, but would present airspace and environmental issues and require joint-use with the military. Cobb County Airport also has potential, but high development costs would be a concern.
“Based on the current cost-benefit analysis, none of the eight sites studied were found to be feasible at this time; however, given the growing population of the region, an ever changing economic climate, and the dynamic nature of aviation, the feasibility of a second airport in the Atlanta metropolitan region will need to be revisited periodically in the future,” concluded the study, an executive summary of which is attached to this article.
Does the Atlanta area need another airport and would Cartersville be a good fit?
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