FMA is NOT using local taxpayer dollars to acquire the Flying Hat Ranch.
Should the purchase be approved, 93.75 percent of the purchase price will be paid for by a generous grant from the Federal Aviation Administration’s Airport Improvement Program (AIP). The remainder will be paid for by Friedman Memorial Airport, not by local taxpayers.
It’s important to know that the airport is self-sustaining. All airport revenues are derived from airport user fees. This means all airport expenses are paid for by the people and businesses that use the airport – no general city or county general tax funds are required to support airport operations and maintenance expenses.
In fact, the Friedman Memorial Airport receives NO LOCAL TAXPAYER DOLLARS, but yet contributes more than $305 million in economic impact to the valley. The airport creates jobs both on and off the field, brings essential services and vital tourism dollars to the valley, and helps create a rich tax base for public schools and infrastructure.
The truth is we’re just moving a security fence.
As described in the FAA Environmental Assessment, the fence is being moved 400 feet to the south to accommodate full federal aviation safety requirements to have a 1,000-ft runway safety at end of the runway when able (it was previously located at 600 ft.). The fence is located on airport owned property, property which was acquired for the purposes of providing additional runway protection and full runway safety area.
Simply put, there are no plans for expansion to accommodate larger aircraft. As a reminder to the community, the airport has a weight limit of 95,000 lbs which, in fact, limits the size of aircraft that can use the airport.
The Board has been extremely transparent with this project. It was presented to the public for discussion as early as 2017 as part of the FAA Environmental Assessment (EA) (available on our website at www.iflysun.com). The project was deferred to this year due to timing and budget constraints.
True, our valley is experiencing growth–and that’s a good thing. Growth means increased economic activity and that means more jobs, better income, better schools and infrastructure for the valley. The access and services the airport brings to the community is certainly a contributing factor in our growth. And Friedman Memorial Airport has been–and remains–a major economic engine for the valley, generating nearly $300 million in annual economic impact to the City of Hailey and the Wood River Valley.