Airport Authority Needs To Produce TAC Air Buyout Docs For Public Review - And Response

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Chattanooga Airport Authority Board needs to produce for public review all documents related to a proposed $7 million bond issue deal in the works to buy out the TAC Air facilities.  As many people may recall, the Airport Authority Board spent millions constructing a government subsidized private plane facility, Wilson Air, in 2010 to compete directly with the privately-owned TAC Air. 

There simply was not a market for a government owned, private plane facility.  To date, Wilson Air is operating in the red to the tune of more than $1.3 million.  Now, the Airport Authority seems to have realized that the $10 million taxpayer investment at Wilson Air is not working out, so they wish to buy out the private competition that actually pays rent at the Airport.

The wishy washy response of Airport Authority Board public relations hired guns has been that public can see the proposed deal documents after the Airport Authority approves the deal.  Sound familiar, we can see the bill after it passes. This firms strategy is to pass an estimated $7 million bond issue and TAC Air buyout without public review or input. This is not acceptable in any regard given the Airport Authority’s absurd financial debacles. 

Interestingly enough, the bond issues from the Airport Authority are guaranteed by city of Chattanooga taxpayers, instead of Airport revenue.  This was a change recently approved by the City Council under the color of better rates.  So, the public is heavily vested in the Airport’s financial deals that have failed miserably at Wilson Air. 

There is good cause to have no confidence in the Airport Authority Board given debacle at Wilson Air and wasting over $10 million.   

Please call your City Council representative and ask for public review and input of any proposals or bond issues set forth for consideration by the Airport Authority Board prior to approval. Also, considering filing open records for all documents related to the proposal to buy out TAC Air, and bond issue applications. 

The Airport Authority Board needs to act in a transparent manner about these financial concerns from watch dog groups across the state.  The Airport Authority is a government owned facility, do they know it?

April Eidson 

* * * 

How is it correct for a taxpayer-subsidized Airport like TAC Air, that only loses money, use more tax money to buy out a profitable private entity, thus eliminating their competition? The people of Chattanooga need to look at who is behind this deal.  

I bet some of the same players are the same folk that helped put Chattanooga on the hook for a 20 year TIF deal and now is wanting a $40,000,000 million taxpayer funded exit built to a business that does not exist, the old Wheland Property.  

Also, they are touting the exit as needed for Rock City, yet Rock City is in Georgia, so why would the State of Tennessee, who gathers no money from a Georgia business, even care if it benefited an out of state business? Because, since there is not much of a public reason to build the exit, the developers are brainwashing the public into thinking spending $40 million partly on them is a good idea, just like some are trying to justify buying out a local, private business, Wilson Air is needed.  

Folks, your tax money is being used for things other than you intended and you need to get involved and look behind the curtain to see who the players are, it is a short list, and many questionable deals are depleting the tax funds. All of this being discussed is concerning taxpayer funds, it is your duty to know how your money is being used. 

Joe Blevins


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