Wednesday, June 29, 2005
Survey will poll community on airport’s future
A research group will ask local residents their opinions on the future of the Truckee airport
By David Bunker
The Sierra (CA) Sun
If you’ve got a burning opinion on what the Truckee Tahoe Airport should look like in 20, 30 or 50 years, just wait for the phone to ring. Within the next few months a research group hired by the Truckee Tahoe Airport District will be asking people for their opinions on the future of the airport in telephone interviews. The results will be used by the airport board to build a new vision statement for the airport, and eventually overhaul the district’s business plan. “It is a very, very big-picture objective,” said Truckee Tahoe Airport Board member Kathleen Eagan of the survey’s scope. “It will be a mechanism for hearing from more people than might show up at a meeting.”
Airport officials expect the survey to begin by late August or early September and end in October. The research firm is expected to poll more than 500 district residents at an estimated $35,000 cost to the airport. Questions will focus on gauging what district residents want out of their airport in the decades ahead, Eagan said.
The survey will also specifically target the responses of three groups – business owners, airport users and airport neighbors – and include their responses in the larger survey of district residents.
“Those populations are so minuscule that they are going to have to make a concerted effort to get responses,” said airport Assistant Manager Michael Scott.
The research firm began its work by soliciting opinions from the public at Thursday’s district board meeting. There was no shortage of responses, Scott said.
“This was one of the more voluminous kick-off sessions that [the research firm] has ever had,” he said.
The firm will interview individual board members on their ideas about the survey before coming back with a draft survey for the board to look at, although the board will leave the question formulation up to the independent firm.
The board and the public have agreed that the firm must work independently to assure that the survey results reflect an unbiased polling of the community.
“It’s important that the questions be crafted in a way that there is absolutely no bias,” Eagan said.
The board plans to the use the survey to guide a redrafting of the airport’s vision and business plan. The newly formed six-member Airport Community Advisory Team will also likely use the survey results to suggest action to the airport board.
For the five-member airport board, three of whom were elected on an airport reform agenda in November of last year, the survey allows them to ground their decisions about the airport’s future on a valid sample of community opinion.
“It’s certainly going to give us a view to what the public thinks rather than guessing what the public thinks,” said Eagan.