The announcement is just what TransPark supporters have been waiting for. TheU.S. Corps of Engineerssays North Carolinacantransform Kinston's airport into a massive Global TransPark. The entire concept was riding on the approval. Without it, the TransPark would never exist.
"That is the end of the environmental process. We've waited for literally years to get these pieces of paper in hand, and having these in hand means that the Global TransPark has a green light for development," explained TransPark spokesperson Jim Sughrue.
Since the plan was hatched seven years ago, North Carolinians have waited skeptically for the TransPark to become a reality.
The plan promised that higher taxes in eastern counties would lure more than 50,000 jobs and billions of dollars in economic investment. So far, just one industry with 100 workers is here.
Now, because of federal approval and millions in federal money, construction on a massive new runway can begin.
The site doesn't look like much now, but all of it will be paved once the expansion is complete. In fact, the runway will extend several thousand feet, allowing larger planes to land more often.
"The Global TransPark needs additional infrastructure to go forward, and what this does is gives us that ability to put that infrastructure in place. The infrastructure is the key to the project," said Sughrue.
The next job is to attract businesses here, a task the state says would have been nearly impossible without the improvements.
Another TransPark milestone is scheduled for December, when the city of Kinston turns ownership of the airport over to the state.
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