Guilford County commissioners OK $2 million for airport incentives

Piedmont Triad News

GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) – Guilford County commissioners on Thursday night approved even more incentives for Piedmont Triad International Airport.

After a public hearing, the board unanimously approved giving $2 million for infrastructure improvements at PTI, even as the state is pursuing a new airplane manufacturer for PTI.

This is the latest incentive to follow the announcement of “Project Thunderbird,” so named by state Rep. Donny Lambeth (R-Winston-Salem) when he pitched $106.75 million in incentives to the General Assembly to lure an “airplane manufacturer” to the 1,000 vacant acres on the northern extension of his airport’s property.

Lawmakers OK’d the Job Development Investment Grant for “a high-yield project for an airplane manufacturer in Guilford County” that likely would mean $500 million in investment and about 1,700 new jobs, which the legislature’s bill said would earn an average of $60,000 a year.

Boom Supersonic of Denver, the company developing a supersonic commercial jet, has been reported as the company with eyes on PTI.

Earlier on Thursday, the airport received more than $5.1 million in an FAA grant as part of the federal infrastructure deal.

The Board of Commissioners had met in a closed session about incentives shortly after the General Assembly improved its grant and then scheduled this public hearing.

Available tracts at PTI (flyfrompti.com)

Airport Executive Director Kevin Baker, who has “no comment” on Project Thunderbird, has said he has 1,000 acres in various stages of development on the north side of I-73 that is “ready for multiple users.” He has said he has talked with a variety of companies about coming to PTI.

“We have sections from 100 to 200 acres that are ready to go,” he said. “Any project that comes around will depend on where it goes and the needs to finalize it.”

The larger parcel is connected by a taxiway constructed across I-73 – “It needs to be paved,” Baker said – and the legislature’s appropriation directs $15 million for site work at the airport, $35 million for roadwork through the NC Department of Transportation and $56.75 million for the airport to use “for the construction of one or more new hangars.”

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