Saturday, April 22, 2023

FIVE Reasons to Vote NO on Prop A

1.  Too Many Questions and Questionable Answers for this Venture

·       Taxpayers will be paying the debt service on the $200M (total cost with interest will be ~$380M) for at least the next 24 years IF the stars align and all variables work out: like if a big airline carrier comes, if TKI offers comparable and competitive flight options to lure away DFW and DAL travelers if they park their cars and eat food at TKI, etc. 

·       The debt service we pay for this bond will be money that could have gone to police, fire, streets, parks, etc.

·       Prop A can be a tax increase! No one can promise it won’t happen. The venture can fail. The venture could happen slower than projected.

·       The city and City Council have not provided most voters an opportunity to ask questions in public and on the record about any business or financial plans. George Fuller’s PAC has held meetings advocating for the bond—big difference. 

·       The environmental assessment (paid for by the city) has not been completed with the required input from the public, TxDOT, or the FAA. Environmental mitigation could be costly. Those costs are not baked into the business plan.

·       The mayor is using corporate and PAC funds paid for by construction and real estate company donors to promote the bond while making many contradictory statements on social media:

-Fuller said the FAA controls what times the airport operates and whether we have cargo or passenger service. 

-He also said that if we vote yes on the bond, we’ll be saved from cargo and freight service.

-He also said that if we don’t vote yes, we could end up with an Alliance-type airport that is all cargo at all hours of the day, even though Alliance airport has two 11,000 ft runways. TKI does not.

-Fuller also said that flight schools and their small plane flights could be the cause of more pollution than 737s.

2.  Few Direct Benefits to the City Taxpayers Footing the Bill

·       In 2010, the airport and the commercial areas around the airport were made into a reinvestment zone (TIRZ#2). See the map here. See the project plan here.

·       The amount of property, sales, and use taxes the city gets is a static base amount, generally under $1M. This base amount will not change much—even if the airport is successful.

·       Any profits made over that base amount established in 2010 stay in the reinvestment zone and must be spent on the airport, per the plan.

·       Other taxing entities will benefit, but they will share no part of the bond burden.

3.  The Airport Does Not Have to Be Expanded

·       It does not have to be converted into passenger or cargo either. It can stay a general aviation airport continuing to make money.

·       The city can attract retail and commercial with much less than a $200M + taxpayer investment.

·       Nothing in the Airport Master Plan requires expansion. Airport master plans are required by the FAA, and they must address potential options for the future of the asset: get rid of it or stay the same, do some things, or fully expand.

·       The 2019 Airport Master Plan specifically says that an airliner like Southwest will not come to McKinney. See pages 2-45 and 2-46. It also said smaller carriers, like Spirit, would most likely come. All the financial and economic benefit models are based on at least one large carrier coming. 

·       Since 2013, taxpayers have paid about $100M to get the airport to become mostly self-sufficient. Maybe it’s time to take a breather.

·       A select few have always wanted to build out the airport. Voters do not have to bear the burden of their ventures, visions, or schemes.

4.  The Entire Plan is Based on a Weak Demand Analysis

·       The airport business plan and all economic impact projections ($4M total in consultant fees) are based on a small study commissioned by the city of McKinney of potential demand in our area for a commercial airport done in 2020 called the Traveler Insights Survey.

·       The survey found 75% of travelers might consider using TKI (which is a combination of three answer choices).

·       The study was based on a survey of 302 people around North Texas. The results indicate travelers would consider using McKinney’s airport (TKA) if certain requirements are met: competitive pricing, non-stop flights, and multiple flight options. If those requirements are not met, travelers will just keep going to Dallas Love and DFW. Voters will still have to pay back the $200M bonds.

·       Is a “might” or a “would consider” reason enough to spend $200M? 

·       Travelers fly out of DAL and DFW because they have options for flights, prices, and carriers.

·       The corporation & PAC sending out fliers with backing from construction and real estate interests, wrote that this airport would be a “boutique passenger terminal.” See the flyer sent out around 3/7/23.

·       If TKI aims to be a boutique airport, it will be smaller and more expensive. It will not attract people who want multiple flight options, competitive pricing, and carrier options.

5.  Vote NO If You Do Not Want McKinney to Become an Airport Town

·       If the bond fails, McKinney will have a chance to stay a Unique By Nature city that balances the tax base between residential, industrial, and commercial.

·       If the bond passes, McKinney will become a town focused on construction, passenger air traffic, and freight.

·       McKinney ISD has lost nearly 1,500 students since 2018 as it is. All other districts around McKinney are growing, while MISD slowly bleeds students:

In 2018, MISD’s enrollment was 24,791

By 2022, enrollment had fallen to 23,379 see report here, p. 120

·       The Heard Natural Science and Wildlife Sanctuary is a 289-acre museum, natural preserve, wetlands, and bird sanctuary located close to the airport. Bird conservation has been a mission of the Heard since its founding in 1967. Airports, and their flight paths, are incompatible with nature preserves. No in-depth environmental assessment will be completed regarding the impacts on the Heard until the city applies for Part 139 with the FAA. 

·       Will families want to move to a city with a busy passenger/freight airport? Or will they move to the cities surrounding McKinney because they offer a more person-friendly, less polluted atmosphere?



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