Yo, Taxpayers of Orcas | Letters

Editor’s note: The Orcas airport was slated for a major runway reconstruction in 2013-2014 but the FAA decided that no major reconstruction should take place until an update is made to the official Airport Master Plan and Airport Layout Plan, which could take a few years. As an interim measure, the airport is undertaking several small projects, which are expected to take 40 working days. All but a very small portion of newer pavement will be fog-sealed and markings will be repainted. Several long-standing drainage issues are being reconciled. A taxiway and gate are being rebuilt to move that portion of fence line farther from the runway. A problematic electric gate is being replaced with a cattle guard on Cessna Road. A large metal drain pipe running under the ramp will be replaced with a larger pipe and the pavement repaired to prevent further settling. The parking lot and driveway near the UPS/Aeronautical Services area will be paved with asphalt. Electrical service to three facilities is being consolidated to reduce ongoing meter charges and bring fiber to the terminal. Automatic backup generator power for the terminal is being provided. Trees in the vicinity of the wind sensor were removed to ensure the wind sensor accuracy. Access road to the EMS helipad will be rebuilt wider. The construction contract is for $1,772,663.79. The construction management consultant fee is $234,240.00. The grand total is $2,006,903.79. The FAA will reimburse 90 percent of the cost. A Washington State Department of Transportation grant was also awarded for $100,000. The remainder is funded from the cash reserves of the Port, expected to be approximately $150,000. The prime contractor is RAZZ construction, which recently completed the work on the Deer Harbor Bridge and is also doing park and ride work at the Orcas ferry landing.

While budget cuts proposed by the punitive plutocrats in D.C. threaten everything from our drinking water to those parasite seniors who dare to eat lunch, it may be of interest to local citizens to check out a current outflow of federal dollars being sunk into our local airport.

Unbeknownst to the local inhabitants and unreported upon in the local press, approximately $1 million+ of said funds are going towards a major construction project at the terminus of Commercial Park Road that involves massive heavy equipment, superfluous tree removal and a widening and strengthening of the airport access that seems far in excess of local aviation needs.

I sent my attorney Damien Stark over to the construction site to access the situation but found the off island workers to be rather reticent in their knowledge or inarticulate in their delivery (Sean Spicer, pick up the white courtesy phone) of any salient explanation.

This leads one to consider, as I have over the course of 20 years watching the enclosure of the airport commons, deer slaughter, fencing, etc., the intent of such overbearing concern. Is such Federal mediation motivated by concern for the safety and well-being of Orcans or are one bureaucracy’s safety concerns another man’s prison?

In any event, it sure would be nice if one of the local papers asked a few questions and let us curious types in on the game. As the state legislature dithers over court mandated public education funding with Betsy deVoss salivating in the wings and as a senior who likes to eat and breathe, it would be nice to know.

Joseph Murphy