Thursday, December 6, 2007
Airport plan may take off
By Danny Bernardini
The Vacaville (CA) Reporter
After nearly five years of lobbying efforts toward a Nut Tree Airport Master Plan, officials said Tuesday they may be close to securing the federal funding necessary for such a plan to take off. Nut Tree Airport Manager Andy Swanson said although nothing is official, he has been told by the Federal Aviation Administration that funding for the master plan likely will be allocated. “It’s not in writing. Until we get the offer, it’s not a done deal,” Swanson said. “We’re very much in need of the master plan. It’s very important to identify and update the needs of the future at a county, city and community level.”
The airport was discussed Tuesday at the Solano County Board of Supervisors meeting where federal lobbyist Susan Lent gave a report to the board.
Lent identified the airport as having several benefits including its location in the Bay Area and the opportunity for affluent clientele to land jets there. The Nut Tree Airport has been identified as the number one priority for lobbyists of transportation issues and they will explore expansion and land acquisition.
Supervisor Jim Spering agreed the airport can be better utilized in the future and said the board should be involved in the planning.
“What really are the goals for that airport,” Spering asked? “(The lobbying) is going to open up many opportunities. I would hate to squander that. The sooner we do this, the sooner it will put our airport ahead of others.”
Supervisor John Vasquez agreed and said the board and staff should come up with a vision statement for the airport.
“We haven’t sat down and said ‘here’s our plan,’ ‘ Vasquez said.
Swanson said the master plan likely would cost around $300,000 and would include elements such as a design study, development of a work plan, a business plan and an attempt to identify current and future use. He said having the supervisors’ backing is a big deal.
“It was a very exciting day as an airport manager to hear the support and vision of the board,” Swanson said. “It’s something that is appreciated, when your board sees the important role of the airport.”