County Commissioners from around the region meet to discuss regional airport

10/09/07 starting to move forward towards a regional airport in southern Idaho. County commissioners across the area are examining the prospects of how a major travel and commercial port would impact the area.

It maybe eight miles north of the Lincoln and Blaine County line, the site where Blaine County officials are looking at moving the existing Friedman Memorial Airport in Hailey. County commissioners from across southern Idaho met today at the Jerome County offices to discuss the possibility of a new regional airport.

Tom Bowman, Blaine County Commissioner says, “And then the Friedman Memorial Airport Authority took those three sites, and came up with a preferred site, which is a site that is just south of Timmerman Hill and on the east side of the highway.”

Bowman summarized the plans to move the airport from Hailey, to fix some safety issues and to expand air service. He says that funding for the new airport could be as much as $110 Million from the Federal Aviation Administration, and $70 million from other sources.

Bowman says, “We’re planning land for a, maybe a ten-thousand foot runway. We probably won’t build it to that at first, but the land is there, it’s all BLM land. We have to get that worked through.”

Commissioners from Twin Falls, Gooding, Lincoln and Camas counties all addressed concerns about getting involved with the project, and what impacts a regional airport would have on existing county airports. Twin Falls County Commissioner Tom Mikesell expressed his concerns for the Magic Valley Regional Airport, but agrees this is the next economic step for southern Idaho.

Mikesell says, “I think this is a great idea. I think we can move forward, but I think we need to be invited into this process rather than throw ourselves through their front door.”

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