Local News

FedEx's Fort Worth Neighbors Don't Seem To Mind the Noise; Selecting Kinston for Hub Could Boost Transpark

Posted March 12, 1998

— Opponents of a new FedEx hub at RDU International say the additional flights would create too much noise. But, is FedEx a bad neighbor? We went to Texas to find out from people who know.

FedEx has a new hub in Fort Worth. It has the same volume of flights that's being talked about here in the Triangle.

By day, it's pretty quiet around the huge FedEx Hub in Fort Worth, Texas. By night, the activity, and the noise, really take off. Some people think that's enough of a problem to keep a FedEx hub from taking flight in the Triangle.

It pops up from the Texas prairie like a mirage. The FedEx Hub in Fort Worth, Texas. It is a 168-acre campus, with one million square feet of separating, sorting, and sending. Aside from the cattle in the nearby pastures. The closest neighbors are a mile and a half away in tiny Haslet.

We wanted to take our own noise measurements, so WRAL's Mark Roberts rented a decibel meter from a Raleigh consulting company.

Mark measured a passing truck's sound at 80 decibels. But, by night, when FedEx planes started flying, he measured sounds at 120 decibels.

The FedEx planes are on the move from midnight until 4 a.m. Cary and Morrisville are against the hub because of the noise. But, the people who live and work right below the flight pattern don't seem to mind.

A delegation from the Triangle toured the FedEx Hub. Local business owners were joined by Wake County Commissioners, and Raleigh City Council member John Odom wanted to separate the good from the bad, and put it into perspective.

After the tour, Odom told us that he supports the FedEx Hub coming to RDU. The other elected officials on the tour were not ready to commit. FedEx is supposed to make a decision in the next few months.

About 20 flights a day fly in and out of FedEx's Texas hub in Fort Worth. Six hundred people work there. Full-time employees average $34,000 a year, and part-time employees earn full-time benefits.

Since FedEx first announced plans to build the Texas hub in 1993, at least seven companies with thousands of employees have built facilities or expanded in the area.

Five other airports in the Carolina's are in the running for the FedEx Hub. The darkhorse in this entire thing is the Global Transpark in Eastern North Carolina.

Stallings Jetport could act as a hub for FedEx. Located just north of Kinston, the airport is part of the multi-million dollar vision for the massive industrial park. But to date, the dream to lure big business down east has been unfulfilled.

It looks like just another small airport and a bunch of undeveloped land. But, if all plans are realized, the Kinston- based Global Transpark would be home to dozens of companies and nearly 100,000 new jobs, all connected by an expanded airport and an interconnected cargo-handling rail system.

Transpark leaders look to Research Triangle Park for guidance and inspiration. That project also took decades to be fully realized.

On the streets of Kinston, some people are a little skeptical about the Transpark. In fact, the state has already dumped about $18 million and plans to drop at least $20 million more to expand the runway. So far, only one company has built on site.

That company fixes FedEx planes. Global Transpark leaders hope that's more incentive to seal the deal with FedEx.

FedEx is expected to make a decision by early summer. and Bret Baier

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