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NFKjeff

Developer Bruce Thompson requests new Commonwealth study for regional mega-airport.

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I posted this in the Hampton Roads thread, and will post it here as well as it concerns both the HR and Richmond areas.

VB developer Bruce Thompson is requesting the Commonwealth undertake a new study for building a regional mega-airport, probably along US-460, to serve all of Eastern VA (Richmond and Hampton Roads markets.)

The last study was undertaken 15 years ago, but did not include the Richmond MSA. I think Thompson makes some compelling points.

http://southsidedaily.com/2016/06/01/virginia-beach-developer-requests-study-of-mega-airport-for-hampton-roads-richmond/

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Virginia Beach doesn't play nice with its own neighbors. Why would they play nice with Richmond? VA Beach only cares about VA Beach. No way those loons would support tax dollars to pay for an airport an hour away.

 

The idea of a regional airport is intriguing though.

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I personally can't think of an example of a major regional airport that is literally in the middle of nowhere.  Have you driven 460?

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It would be nice to see PHF operations moved to ORF and connected to The Tide but ORF lacks room for expansion so the PHF may be more feasible.  I cannot see any reason to combine RIC with Hampton Roads (especially on 460) as the distance would be too far for most markets no matter where the combined airport is located.

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I just don't see how it would be feasible given that the vast majority of the Richmond region's population is in the western half of the region. It seems like it would make more sense to maintain an airport in Richmond and an airport on the southside (ORF), but what do i know.

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28 minutes ago, wrldcoupe4 said:

I just don't see how it would be feasible given that the vast majority of the Richmond region's population is in the western half of the region. It seems like it would make more sense to maintain an airport in Richmond and an airport on the southside (ORF), but what do i know.

You may be right, but it is probably worth doing a CBA on. I read the article, and as I said, Thompson raises some good points regarding the type of air travel a market must have in order to attract major corporations. It is possible that combining the two MSA's in terms of air travel would provide enough air travel service (non-stop, and true international) and amenities to attract such corporations to both markets.

Granted, it would be situated less conveniently for both areas, and US-460 would need major improvements. Waverly would be just about the midway point, which is about 54 miles from Richmond and from Norfolk.

It would be very expensive, but like I said, I think it is worth taking a look at the actual numbers. At some point you have to consider such major investments, or your neighbors (NC) will continue to eat your lunch.

Edited by NFKjeff
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It definantely wouldn't work on the southside. The only place I could see this working is on I64 near providence forge. It would need to have access to commuter rail from both cities and direct access to I-64. However this would most likely not work, especially for its projected price tag.

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31 minutes ago, vaceltic said:

The Richmond International Airport Master Plan shows alot of room for expansion to serve regional growth. I doubt local leadership would be keen to prioritize investments into a larger airport much further away.

http://www.flyrichmond.com/index.php/about-us/master-plan

RIC definitely has the most potential for a large regional airport but would simply be too far for Hampton Roads to really benefit.

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I would totally be for this if our two metros were closer together OR if there was a transportation system (high speed rail) that would connect the airport and the two metros AND If it were built off the I-64 corridor. If those aren't met, then I think it would be impractical and a huge boondoggle. A part of me thinks that it might work without the high speed rail and might encourage more development eastward from Richmond, but that would take many years to build up.  I just don't see it happening. 

Keep Virginia's major airport near Richmond. It is the capital city and is more accessible from the rest of Virginia. 

Edited by eandslee

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I think 460 is a bad location. Somewhere off 64 makes more sense.

The idea of combining the two metros to create a Top 20-25 market intrigues me. Although Hampton Roads needs to get it together first.

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21 minutes ago, BFG said:

Although Hampton Roads needs to get it together first.

Funny because I think the same thing about Richmond!  Ha!  Don't know if we will make a good combo of neither localities can get it together!

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I think the driving idea behind this is that the two markets combined are large enough to support such an airport, whereas neither one by itself is. I believe that traffic along the I-64 corridor is just not going to allow for this to be workable for HR. If this were to take place US-460 would have to be upgraded in a major way, but that would probably cost much less than a third crossing of I-64, and be more driveable.

I'm not saying this would work, or not, but I think they should do the study and see what options are presented.

I see posters here bemoaning the fact that NC is grabbing all of VA's bank HQ's etc., and that we have a difficult time competing for major corporate HQ's. This is true, and an airport such as this could very well change that. Norfolk does not have the land available, and I don't think either market alone will provide the demand.

Being situated near, say Waverly (54 mi. from both Richmond and Norfolk), might not work, but how could it hurt to run the numbers?

This state has got to start investing into such infrastructure, or NC will soon lose us from the vista in their rear view mirror altogether.

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Really, I do love this idea and I sure don't want NC to continue to rape us of our businesses or continue to leave us in the dust!  I do think it's worth the look.  I'd be interested to see how everything would shake out.  Huge compromises would have to be made and most importantly, real money would have to be devoted to it.  Not to mention, a very aggressive timeline!

This would have to be epic!...as in you might see a documentary on it on the History Channel (think Modern Marvels or Megastructures)!

Edited by eandslee

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9 hours ago, jbjust said:

I personally can't think of an example of a major regional airport that is literally in the middle of nowhere.  Have you driven 460?

The only successful mega airport I can think of that is sort of "far" from its city center is Denver...and that one will seem really close compared to one some 54 miles away from its city center!  That distance just seems a bit silly and impractical. That's why I say that it would have to involve some serious transportation infrastructure connecting the airport and the two city centers to make it even feasible.

Edited by eandslee

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39 minutes ago, NFKjeff said:

I think the driving idea behind this is that the two markets combined are large enough to support such an airport, whereas neither one by itself is. I believe that traffic along the I-64 corridor is just not going to allow for this to be workable for HR. If this were to take place US-460 would have to be upgraded in a major way, but that would probably cost much less than a third crossing of I-64, and be more driveable.

I'm not saying this would work, or not, but I think they should do the study and see what options are presented.

I see posters here bemoaning the fact that NC is grabbing all of VA's bank HQ's etc., and that we have a difficult time competing for major corporate HQ's. This is true, and an airport such as this could very well change that. Norfolk does not have the land available, and I don't think either market alone will provide the demand.

Being situated near, say Waverly (54 mi. from both Richmond and Norfolk), might not work, but how could it hurt to run the numbers?

This state has got to start investing into such infrastructure, or NC will soon lose us from the vista in their rear view mirror altogether.

I disagree. I don't believe that the infrastructure and development is there. When VDOT widens I-64(which they will) and improve the I-64 bridge tunnel(which will have to be done even if the airport isn't built) will be enough to allow people from Norfolk to access the airport. It would help if they ran high speed rail to the airport on its way from Norfolk to Richmond as it would make it much quicker to get from the 2 cities to the airport. I do like the fact that it could draw large businesses to the area.

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I definitely feel it's worth a study, and I am intrigued. I don't know how well Richmond does, but it baffles me that HR has close to 2 million people, and such a tiny airport. Great for getting in and out of town quickly, but we still need something larger for this region. I don't want another 15 years to pass and we still play the coulda/shoulda/woulda game.

Hopefully the two regions can each work out their differences, and then work together as a whole. There's still a chance to catch up to NC, but not if we sit on our hands.

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Just now, BFG said:

I definitely feel it's worth a study, and I am intrigued. I don't know how well Richmond does, but it baffles me that HR has close to 2 million people, and such a tiny airport. Great for getting in and out of town quickly, but we still need something larger for this region. I don't want another 15 years to pass and we still play the coulda/shoulda/woulda game.

Hopefully the two regions can each work out their differences, and then work together as a whole. There's still a chance to catch up to NC, but not if we sit on our hands.

I 100% agree, but this won't happen unless the 2 cities cooperate.

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They need to talk to Elon Musk about installing a hyperloop. Who's ready for pneumatic tube travel?

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47 minutes ago, NFKjeff said:

They need to talk to Elon Musk about installing a hyperloop. Who's ready for pneumatic tube travel?

Oooo!  I am!  Pick me!  Pick me!

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I would not use the airport if it was far from the city.   I already get irritated with having to drive to Hanover's KOFP to fly and that's only 20 minutes away ... unless I hit traffic, which I always do.

RIC is only 13 minutes away from me, which is a reasonable distance to take an Uber.

Getting an Uber/Taxi to and from an airport that is 50+ miles away would be absurd.

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4 hours ago, eandslee said:

The only successful mega airport I can think of that is sort of "far" from its city center is Denver...and that one will seem really close compared to one some 54 miles away from its city center!  That distance just seems a bit silly and impractical. That's why I say that it would have to involve some serious transportation infrastructure connecting the airport and the two city centers to make it even feasible.

Denver just opened the new A Line commuter rail linking DIA with Union Station downtown. FasTracks, look it up, boy if only we had the half the gumption..

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Richmond and Hampton Roads need to work together.  We are not rivals (Carolina is though).  However, I do not think that consolidating RIC and ORF is a good idea.  The metro centers for each area are too far away.  If Richmonders had to drive an hour to somewhere on 460, many in the West End and Henrico would look to fly out of DCA and IAD instead.  I would prefer to see PHF closed and a high (er) speed rail connection to RVA with a stop at RIC built.  The Tide could be extended to ORF.  I suspect both of these developments would benefit each airport.

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I thought you all might enjoying seeing the comparison between the air traffic at RIC versus RDU. I have a cool app called flightradar24, which allows me to single out all the current flights for any airport. I took the below snapshots at 0835 this morning (a fairly busy time of the day) to show you just how much the Virginia airports (minus IAD and DCA) are getting smoked by RDU. This just helps with a visual comparison:

This is RIC's current traffic:

image_13.png

(ORF has very similar traffic volume as RIC)

This is RDU's current traffic:

image_12.png

(And these are not counting the two international flights you can't see in this snapshot of one flight inbound from Paris and the other inbound from London!)

Gosh, I'm so jealous!  Our two Metros should have air traffic that should look like this.  Yes, I'm "hating."

 

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Ok but why do they have more traffic? Is their airport located over 50 miles from the population centers in the middle of nowhere? If I'm not mistaken, it's located roughly midway between the two major cities that are less than 30 miles apart. Would Charlotte and Winston-Salem/Greensboro benefit if they combined their respective airports into a mega airport, say, in Statesville, NC (approx 45 min from both city centers)?? This 460 concept would be even further away.

by the way - I don't perceive a rivalry between ORF and RIC, I'm just having trouble seeing the benefit to either region to put a new airport in the middle of nowhere.

Edited by wrldcoupe4
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