Hudson sees potential for county growth

Aug. 09, 2013 @ 10:52 AM

Rep. Richard Hudson, R-8, visited Monroe and toured the Charlotte-Monroe Executive Airport Thursday. 

Executive Director of Economic Development and Aviation Chris Platé gave a presentation to Hudson about the airport and the county’s economic development efforts. 

Platé said the biggest change coming is the new international customs building. They will be the 49th airport in the country with such a facility. Platé said they were told by the aviation community that it was something they needed. 

Platé talked about their future plans for the airport, including the current construction, widening the taxiway from 35 to 50 feet. He said they want to expand the corporate area, but not forget the general aviation customers and continue providing them with high customer service. 

The airport has about 150 operations a day, including landings and take-offs. It is one of four designated relief airports for Charlotte-Douglas International. 

Platé said that with Federal Aviation Administration grant money, they will get a “big return on (their) investment.”

“There’s so much potential here,” Hudson said.

Hudson is currently traveling throughout the state on a transportation tour. He has visited other airports, railways and other means of transportation. 

While it has not necessarily impacted the Monroe airport, the across-the-board sequester cuts have impacted many regional airports due to cuts to the FAA. 

“The sequester fight’s tough,” Hudson said in an interview.

He said they should not do across-the-board cuts and should go in with a scalpel instead.

“The only thing worse would be no cuts,” he added. 

He said there is a philsophical difference between the House of Representatives and President Barack Obama. He recalled a visit from the President earlier this year where he talked about their similarities instead of their differences, but said he would not sign their budget.

“(We have) two very different philosophies on spending,” Hudson said. He added that he is not sure how to reconcile the differences. 

North Carolina and other states are also struggling with maintaining their infrastructure in the current economy, including roads, bridges and rail lines. Hudson said that was a big issue for governors, who have lots of responsibility for a huge number of roads. 

On the federal level, Hudson said the highway fund legislation assumed a gas tax increase that did not make it through the House.

In late July the House was debating a gas tax increase, the first since 1993, to fill a $20 billion shortfall between incoming and outgoing transit funding, “The Hill” reported. 

Hudson said there are more jobs in the pipeline than their is money right now. They are hoping to find some “alternative funding.”

He said they need to do a better job of prioritizing.

Hudson, a freshman congressman, said he is proudest so far of working across the aisle on legislation. He said he was able to pass a bill dealing with wounded warriors and the Transportation Security Agency. The law permitted wounded warriors to keep on their shoes, a light jacket and hats on during airport security screening, as long as they contact the TSA in advance. Prior to the legislation, there were complaints about more evasive security screenings for wounded soldiers and veterans.

He said he has another bill he wrote dealing with acquisition reform with bi-partisan support. The bill made it out of subcommittee unanimously and he is now working the Senate on a similar version. 

“(I) try to find common sense solutions,” Hudson said.