Big Picture Leaders Needed Now for Our Regional Airport

Last month, in the March issue of Cincy, we published an extensive feature on the challenges facing the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport and the Greater Cincinnati metro region it serves and nourishes.

We pointed out that the potential merger of Delta and Northwest airlines is just one in a series of tests the airport has encountered — and will continue to encounter. We asked: Is the CVG leadership up to the tasks ahead?

The answers were not encouraging. The official line from the airport communications office is a “wait and see” posture.

Since then, Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune Portune and county Auditor Dusty Rhodes have called on state and federal elected officials to join a working group. They want an increase in Ohio’s voting representation on the Kenton County Airport Board, which governs CVG.

That may be a worthy goal, but as a strategy it plays right into the hands of those who criticize Portune and Rhodes as political opportunists.
One of our stories last month is titled “Some Airports Take Bigger Aim.” Another is called “Entrepreneurial Spirit Drives Charlotte Airport.” If you missed these, go to www.cincymagazine.com. In Charlotte and in the Washington, D.C., metro area, for example, airport advisory committees and task forces involve multi-state, diverse and expert representatives from state and local governments, chambers and other business groups, civic leaders and people with airline industry and intermodal transportation experience.

“Other cities have taken a big-picture approach to transportation in general and aviation in particular,” we reported.
The picture is big. It demands a big, unified, metro community initiative.

What we have now are two lone wolves knocking the airport board and talking up some of their pet ideas, such as a rail line from downtown Cincinnati to the airport.

What we need is a bold public move by the political and business heavyweights on both sides of the river to help CVG prepare for the future. For example, the governors of Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana could do more than issue press releases by agreeing to form a Northern Kentucky, Southwest Ohio and Southeast Indiana Regional Aviation Task Force — a robust, action-oriented group like those in Charlotte, Washington and elsewhere. The Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments (OKI) could play a major role, along with local universities.


Strong Magnet for Business

Portune deserves credit for having the courage to state publicly what other political and business leaders confess privately. And when he says there’s a critical vacuum in leadership on this issue, he’s absolutely right.
 
Strong Magnet For Business

For all the election campaign talk about Ohio suffering economically, there are reasons to believe in better days ahead.

Site Selection magazine — a must read for major companies looking to relocate or expand — publishes an annual ranking of states and metro areas according to the number of new and expanded corporate facilities they register each year. For the second year straight, Ohio took the No. 1 spot and the “Governor’s Cup” award, as reported in the March issue of the publication.

Just as good, the Cincinnati-Middletown metro area came in at No. 2 among regions over 1 million population, right behind Chicago. Our area has been placing high in this survey for years.

Some business and political leaders credit changes in Ohio’s tax laws and our higher education institutions as major reasons we’ve become a stronger magnet for this kind of economic development. When someone criticizes Cincinnati, remind them we rank ahead of Houston, Minneapolis, Nashville and Dallas on this impressive yardstick.