Global TransPark still grounded in red ink

Posted March 25, 2010 6:41 p.m. EDT

— The Global TransPark lost more than $3.4 million in the most recent fiscal year, despite receiving $1.6 million in state support, according to an audit released Thursday.

The TransPark, created in 1991 as a way to boost the eastern North Carolina economy, has been a frequent target of critics who call it a waste of money. It has never achieved its goal of self-sufficiency.

The facility's operating revenue increased by 13 percent, to $1.3 million, in the 2008-09 fiscal year, which ended last June. That wasn't enough to offset its annual expenses, which dropped by 5 percent.

Auditors also expressed concern that the TransPark won't be able to repay a $36 million loan that is due next year. Lawmakers have pushed the loan deadline back before and could do so again.

A new tenant, Spirit Aero Systems, could help the TransPark's finances in the future, according to auditors. The facility received a $100 million grant from Golden LEAF, a Rocky Mount-based economic development foundation, to lure the aircraft component manufacturer to Kinston.