McDonald: Not flying straight |

McDonald: Not flying straight

Letter to the editor
Letter to the editor

What are the resultant ramifications of the proposed Aspen/Pitkin County Airport expansion?

Reconfiguration and expansion of the runway, taxiway, aircraft parking, and terminal to accommodate FAA rules for bigger planes to land as well as the accompanying ancillary offsite infrastructure required should cost every taxpayer and small business a bundle. But this is all that is needed to fuel big-business development.

Ultimately, this airport expansion, if approved, will irreversibly change the character of Aspen by further gentrifying the town and disenfranchising the local residents with the big city taint. The resultant tourist volume increase will be the coup de gras to any vestige of small-town Aspen. This development truly is the key that unlocks the door for unfettered growth.

The potential increase throughput of tourists per hour afforded by this proposal will enable a decade or more of justified commercial growth. This new airport and infrastructure will initially be underutilized to its full potential, thereby giving reason for councils, city, and county staff to acquiesce to Big Money’s pressure to accommodate their needs. Of course, it should be no surprise that this airport expansion will significantly increase the city’s and county’s revenue stream. 

Ultimately, this proposed airport expansion means higher taxes, more traffic congestion, more noise, more large-scale developments like Lift One Corridor, and just about more of everything every resident dislikes about Aspen today. The supporters of this expansion who must be greedily wringing their hands in the shadows are city and county staff, big developers, most Realtors and, of course, owners of long-wing Gulfstream jets.

Unfortunately, there are far-reaching, irreversible, negative consequences when large-scale developments impinge on Aspen’s geographically-small landscape. Continued commercial development will eventually destroy the Aspen theme it has been marketing for decades; which is its intangible, je ne sais quoi mystique.

Just who is pulling the strings in the back room promoting this expansion? 

Scott and Caroline McDonald