State Budget Problems May Signal End Of Global TransPark Project
Posted July 9, 2001 6:11 a.m. EDT
KINSTON — The honeymoon may be over for the Global TransPark (GTP), a project that was supposed to make eastern North Carolina an international hub for business. Instead, the project has been a huge bust.
Many residents in North Carolina have put in about $80 million dollars so far for the Global TransPark, but the project is still more farmland than industry.
"It may not come around for our time, but for people younger than us, I'm sure they would get a chance to see the Global Transpark," says job security manager Elijah Gooding.
In state budget talks, lawmakers are considering a big cut in tax money to the park. They are also considering transferring some assets to local governments.
GTP Director Paul Busick insists the Transpark is on track, despite the legislative rumblings. He says the park cannot be a big recruiter until its roadwork and other improvements are done four years from now.
"We didn't get money to start building it until 1999 and we've been building it as fast as we can get money ever since," Busick says. "Once we get that initial infrastructure in place, then we should be able to look at economic success."
There is a certain irony in the fact that this year's budget troubles could mean the end to the GTP.
Former Governor Jim Martin headed up the first GTP authority meeting back in 1991. That is the same year Martin used his executive powers to balance a troubled budget, which was the last time that happened until this year.
Several months later, the Kinston Jetport won the GTP sweepstakes and money started flowing in from private and public funds, including special GTP license plates.
Ten years, $80 million and two tenants later, the question is whether the TransPark has reached the end of its runway. That decision will not be known until after this year's budget plan has been approved.