Opinion: Truckee airport-Clear Capital project a win-win for community | SierraSun.com

Opinion: Truckee airport-Clear Capital project a win-win for community

John Jones and Tom Van Berkem

The Truckee Tahoe Airport District has worked very hard over the past two years to find a solution to retain an important local employer.

The district does not take its role of steward of public funds lightly and understands TTAD's influence on competition with the private sector.

Despite a few rumors to the contrary, there are no sweetheart deals, no below market lease rates, or giveaways. The facts:

1. This building is leased at market conditions per appraised local lease rates.

2. Up to 130 good-paying jobs will be retained locally that were on the brink of leaving our community forever.

3. TTAD's financial position is enhanced, making it less dependent on FAA Grants and property tax in the future.

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TTAD has built and continues to operate many leaseholds, including warehouses, hangars, office space, a restaurant, aircraft maintenance facilities, and storage.

Whether you own buildings or lease land, they involve many of the same risks and rewards. By self-financing the building, not only does the airport realize a healthy return without paying interest, but we own a $4 million building at the end of the process that provides a perpetual income stream.

We know this because TTAD has used this leasing/development revenue model successfully for the past 50 years.

Non-aeronautical facility leasing is a critical component to the efficient and sustainable operation of airports.

The headquarters of Dick's Sporting Goods is on the Pittsburg International Airport; the Costco in Helena, Mont., is on airport property; and the Reno Tahoe International Airport recently acquired and is operating a self-storage complex, to name a few examples.

Wise stewardship of airport assets over the years continues to allow the district to enhance the aeronautical resources of the airport, acquire open-space, fund local community, education and sponsorship programs, and preserve two golf courses from development, along with many other valuable projects.

Keep critical jobs in our community and plan for the sustainable financial future of our public airport — that's a win-win, as we like to say.

John Jones is president of the Truckee Tahoe Airport District, and Tom Van Berkem is a director on the board. They may be reached at john.jones@truckeetahoeairport.com and tom.vanberkem@truckeetahoeairport.com.