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The big secret kept from the taxpayers who live north of the Broad River, who are already experiencing county layoffs and reduced services, is that they will soon be expected to help pay for a longer runway on Hilton Head Island that will not benefit them and that airlines do not need.
All the facts indicate that the Hilton Head Island Airport master plan was conceived using old, out-of-date data that did not acknowledge the existence of the massive economic and technology change that was beginning to take place more than seven years ago. It was either unrecognized or ignored by those who, despite the evidence, were certain that turboprops were dying and would be replaced by regional jets. Both convictions were and are patently false.
The continuing trend is for airlines, to stop serving small city airports, reduce flights and routes and to dump their expensive regional jets in favor of turboprop aircraft that are capable of flying the same routes handled by regional jets. The turboprops are less expensive to purchase and less expensive to operate. These facts can no longer be ignored by our county representatives.
The question that should be asked of taxpayers in and around Beaufort is this: "Are you aware that you will be asked to continue to endure reduced service and will ultimately pay the bill for a runway on Hilton Head that is of no value to you and from which you receive no benefit?"
Donald J. Schwarz
Hilton Head Island