Letters

Fundamentals Not in Place

The Global Transpark Project in Kinston, North Carolina suffered from bureaucratic delays and lack of connecting surface transportation.

By Letter to the Editor
Published October 07, 2005

I read, with great interest, your article on Hamilton's proposed "Aerotropolis", and the comparison to Kinston, NC's Global Transpark. I'm a Kinston, NC resident, and supporter of the GTP.

For the most part, your characterisation of the Global Transpark Project is accurate. However, there are a few key points your article may have missed.

All the fundamentals were in place: just-in-time manufacturing, speed and accessibility, critical infrastructure, and the support of all three levels of government.

All the fundamentals were not in place. We suffered significant delays in the early days due to an environmental impact study of epic proportions. I think it was good to do a thorough job, but critics of the GTP ignore the years-long delay when making claims that the transpark has failed to deliver jobs on schedule.

Further, your article notes that critical infrastructure and accessibility were in place. That's not, strictly speaking, true. The powers responsible for linking the airport in Kinston to interstate highways via four lane roadways have failed us miserably.

We've got a fantastic airport facility, but getting trucks in and out until recently has been limited by our older road system. Only in the last couple years has there been a four lane road into the immediate airport area, and it doesn't directly connect with an interstate.

There are plans and construction going on now, which is great. However, as much as anything, I think the lack of modern highway access to the GTP has been a significant deterrant to recruiting large manufacturing and air courier projects. And on top of that, there is no rail terminal at the Transpark.

But these are things that can be fixed, and will be sooner or later. The real question is whether the GTP will continue to receive the support from the extended GTP community that it needs to succeed. With fuel prices rising, as you point out, it will be a new challenge. But that challenge underlines the importance of projects like the GTP and Aerotropolis that look at making and moving goods in a new light.

Good luck, and thanks for an interesting article.

Joel Smith
Kinston, NC

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