MCKINNEY, Texas — The McKinney National Airport is one big step closer to having commercial flights.
The city council voted Tuesday to let residents decide a $200 million bond to help pay for the airport. The bond would cover roughly two-thirds of the estimated cost for the project.
"I'm an advocate and will remain an advocate and it will be dependent on the environmental assessment," said McKinney Mayor George Fuller.
Fuller says the bond vote will be a good gauge to see if residents want it. He also says there are other avenues to make a state-of-the art first-class airport for the region.
The first draft of the FAA's environmental assessment will take 45 to 60 days to complete. Fuller said he is anxious to see the findings of that study which covers noise, traffic, pollution, etc. The draft of the environmental assessment will arrive well before voters decide on May 6.
"I like the airport but I don't like too much big airplanes...make too much noise," said Jesus Rios who has one of the closest houses to the airport. His family has lived in the neighborhood since 2004.
He worries for his family, his home and their windows -- especially if large commercial jets fly over. Traffic, noise and pollution are concerns that have been brought up in recent city meetings about the airport.
"Some are going to be impacted in a bad way and I empathize and I understand it," said Fuller.
The airport needs FAA approval. and before that it needs an assessment and the funding. Only then can the city discuss contracts with potential airlines.
"Although I'm under an NDA, non-disclosure agreement, and cannot disclose which airlines we're talking to... I can tell you we have significant interest from the major airlines that are serving this region," said Fuller.
If all goes as planned, there will be four gates operating 20 flights a day serving half a million passengers a year by 2026.
"I believe it's great for the city. But I'm one vote and there's 210 thousand people to weigh in," the mayor said.