LETTERS: Long trip to Atlanta worth quality of life in Lawrenceville

Regarding J.K. Murphy’s column (“Spin drowns out facts of airport expansion,” Aug. 22, Page 10A), facts may be hard to come by concerning the proposed expansion of Briscoe Field, but let’s look at the information we do have.

In the Aug. 17 fact sheet on the airport expansion distributed by Gwinnett County, the county says in 2009 it was approached by a private investment group with a proposal that envisioned privatization of Briscoe Field that would include potential commercial passenger service. The Genesis of the entire airport expansion comes from the desires of a private investment group to turn Briscoe Field into the second jet port in metro Atlanta.

Brett Smith of Propeller Investments, the New York-based private investment firm that wants to privatize Briscoe Field, has stated in interviews that his plans for expansion include a 10 gate terminal and has said Boeing 737 jets are quieter than some of the small jets currently using Briscoe Field.

The July 8 request for qualifications that Gwinnett County released in seeking qualified partners for the privatization listed as goals and objectives of the partnership to “potentially establish Gwinnett County Airport as a secondary commercial airport in the metropolitan Atlanta region” and “potentially increase travel options and competition: Develop a marketing plan to attract air carriers to provide improved connectivity, competitive fares, and satisfy the needs of the local business community.”

I think it is fair to say the Gwinnett commissioners are more than disingenuous what they tell us that two of the foreseeable options of this initiative are to have the airport remain as is or privatized as a general aviation airport in light of their own request for qualification document. Commissioner Mike Beaudreau said in his interview with the AJC that he believes “most of Gwinnett would love the opportunity to have a second choice besides Hartsfied-Jackson and not have to deal with the hassle of the world’s largest airport.”

As a business frequent flyer I will be happy to continue to drive past Briscoe Field on my way to Hartsfield-Jackson to spare my neighborhood the ruin that this expansion will create. The County mantra is this process continues to be wait and see, and I firmly believe that if I sit back and wait the only thing I am going to see are 737 jets landing in my back yard. Mr. Murphy, that is a fact I am not willing to accept.

— Stephen D. Hayes