Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Another airport takes flight

Second Thoughts has stressed the importance of Tracy Municipal Airport as an engine for economic growth in Tracy, but has never harbored any illusion that it might one day grow into a regional hub for larger jets or commercial passenger travel.

Aside from geographical limitations, there's another obvious reason TMA needs to find its sweet spot as a "niche" flypad: Stockton Metropolitan Airport.

If there's a chance for San Joaquin County to capitalize on air travel and its large-scale commercial/industrial benefits, this airport (big enough to handle Air Force One) is the one to put your bets on. Especially now that a grant will help connect it to Interstate 5 and Highway 99 in a meaningful way.

The airport, in addition to being an obvious commerce and transit hub, is home to the county's new agricultural center. And better access from the highways bolster Stockton Metro's case as an airport on the rise in a region that needs more economic diversity.

This doesn't cloud the importance of Tracy Municipal Airport. But airport supporters must be mindful that Tracy's flypad has its own important place in the area's economy. And it's a different place than that occupied by Stockton Metro.

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