Jan. 22, 2004 - AOPA's long fight to open a new general aviation airport in the Austin, Texas, area moved an important step forward Wednesday morning. Wilbur Smith, the consultant retained to conduct a site selection survey, gave the Central Texas Airport Study Advisory Committee a list of three potential locations for the new airport. The committee did not indicate a preference for any one site over the others. Next week, the public has two opportunities to comment on the short list.
"The Austin area has been in desperate need of adequate GA facilities ever since Robert Mueller and Austin Executive airports closed," said AOPA Vice President of Airports Bill Dunn. "While Wednesday morning's action is a promising step in the right direction, the first operations at a new airport are still several years away."
AOPA has been working on the issue for over a decade and, after the other two airports closed, helped push through legislation to ensure a new airport to serve general aviation demand is constructed.
Now that the list has been reduced from 20 possible sites to three, the Texas Department of Transportation has scheduled two public meetings. The first is scheduled for Tuesday, January 27, at 6:30 p.m. in the Hutto City Hall Council Chamber. The second meeting is the next night, Wednesday, January 28, also at 6:30 p.m., in the Manor Middle School cafeteria.
The three sites identified are in the general area of the communities of Hutto and Manor, as well as the existing airport in Taylor. The study advisory committee will incorporate public input from the two meetings into the consultant's report and will narrow the three potential sites down to a single preferred site.