As a new director on the airport board, what ideas would you offer to mitigate aircraft noise and annoyance for our community?

Ken and Leigh: One way to address noise mitigation would be to put more money into airport infrastructure to allow specifically for the conditioning of the secondary runway (20), which runs north and south, to meet primary runway (29) standards. This would allow for choices for landing and departing in an effort to avoid those communities that currently experience the most aircraft noise. To view images of the runways and noise abatement, click here.

It’s common when people hear that a candidate who is running for the Truckee Tahoe Airport Board is a pilot, that a community member might think, “Oh no. These pilots just want to expand the airport and have more jets coming in and out and more planes flying.” Is that statement true for the two of you?

Ken: Absolutely not. I want to see more money put into the airport to make it a place more accessible to our community at large in particular our youth. I’m extremely passionate about having the board revisit the building of the Community Airport Hangar as a place to hold year-round STEM-related programs for our youth, to host educational seminars on noise abatement, to offer community organizations a place to hold events year-round like fashion shows, sip and shops, and much more. Let’s talk and discuss ideas!

Leigh: No. In addition to supporting what Ken notes above, I want to offer my extensive mechanical and flying expertise to help find solutions to better mitigate aircraft noise and enhance pilot safety. I also want to educate and inform our community at large about all the wonderful things that are happening at the airport, and offer the airport board new ideas for partnering with community organizations and supporting existing ones like the Truckee Trails Foundation, Open Space Land purchases, the Mountain Housing Council, Excellence in Education, (to name only a few).

Can you tell us how/if the Truckee Tahoe Airport benefits the local economy?

Ken and Leigh: In review of the 2017 Economic Impact of the Truckee Tahoe Airport study document, it’s clear that the airport benefits our local economy in many ways. According to the study, the airport employs over 27 full-time employees. On and around the airport, there are approximately 45 businesses that estimate the airport’s operations account for approximately 22 percent of their business revenues.

In 2017, revenue passengers utilizing the airport brought approximately $30 million of direct spending to the local economy. Altogether in 2017, visitors spent $6.6 million on accommodations (2.9 percent of District activity), and $9.7 million on food and beverage (6.7 percent of District activity).

What might be the economic impact on the Truckee Tahoe Airport District region if the airport did not exist and/or less people traveled to our region via aircraft using the Truckee Tahoe Airport?

Ken and Leigh: In review of the 2017 Economic Impact of the Truckee Tahoe Airport study document, it’s noted in the section Demand Elasticity - Reduction in Visitors: more than one-third of all airport survey respondents indicated that they would be “very unlikely” to return to the North Lake Tahoe region without the airport.

However, we believe that the thousands of people who annually use the airport to come to Truckee/Lake Tahoe, will be back in their personal vehicles contributing to our already “failing” highways. As noted in the economic study:“…currently, Interstate I-80 is functioning at nearly 90 percent capacity, which equates to a level of service “D” on a scale of A to F, where F is roadway failure. Even with the Department of Transportation’s capital improvement plans (i.e. capacity enhancement/expansion), it is estimated that Interstate I-80 will reach 96 percent of its design capacity by 2035, subsequently downgrading to a level of service F.”

But, we don’t need a study to tell or show us that our highways, state routes, county and local roads are laden with vehicular traffic primarily during our busiest holiday weekends/weeks.

Idling cars contribute more to poor air quality and effects on the clarity of Lake Tahoe (sediment run-off into the lake) than aircraft travel. We live in a uniquely environmentally sensitive area, and that needs to be considered when people propose to eliminate or lessen air travel to the Truckee Tahoe Airport.

How can ADS-B the new system decrease airport noise?

Leigh: Aircraft arrival and departure procedures can be developed using the new system. These procedures can help reduce noise by routing aircraft away from residential areas in a mandatory way. Currently, pilots are given voluntary noise-abatement instructions, which are of limited value to those unfamiliar with the area. The new ADS-B based procedures will require no familiarity with the region and allow a higher degree of direct control over the flight path of the aircraft. (source: ) If you have additional questions, email Leigh Golden.

What’s your stance on the taxes the Airport gets from every property owner in the area? Is that airport money, or does it belong to the community and should be spent as such?

To best answer this question/s, it’s very important for taxpayers within the Truckee Tahoe Airport District to understand why and how special districts are formed. In brief, special districts are agencies that provide specialized services (e.g. Tahoe Forest Hospital District, Tahoe City Public Utility District, etc.). The districts are created and governed by local residents who vote to form a special district, like the Truckee Tahoe Airport District. Many special districts are governed by a Board of Directors that is either elected or appointed. Voters who establish special districts can also elect the district’s Boards of Directors. Click here to learn more.

In review of why the Airport District was formed, we’d say “yes” this is airport money and is to first be used to keep Airport infrastructure up to date for the safety and good of our communities at large and for those flying in and out of the airport. As other Airport Board candidates have noted, the Airport District is fortunate to have monies that can be, and are, given back to the community for various community needs like affordable housing, open space acquisitions, the building of a helipad in Tahoe City, etc., and yes we support existing Airport partnerships and reviewing new ones while also using the taxes for the reason which the district was formed. Without the airport, the community wouldn’t be fortunate enough to have the millions of dollars that is given back for things like the Truckee Donner Recreation and Park swimming pool, Waddle Ranch land preservation, affordable rental space for the Roundhouse and Food Hub, and so much more.

If you’re elected to the Airport Board, will you still plan to support monetary partnerships with various organizations, for example, the Affordable Housing Council, Truckee Library new building, Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue Team along with new requests?

Yes. We plan to support community partnerships looking at each one and its needs and the needs of our communities of large.

Is the airport powerless in limiting the number of jets using the airport?

In brief, per the FAA, there is nothing the airport can do to restrict jets except weight and size restrictions. There is a voluntary curfew on night flights for hangar tenets. The airport staff is available to offer more specifics on day-to-day air operations. Click on this link for a staff directory

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