A boondoggle from the start. This series records what is possibly the largest government waste and failure in North Carolina state history, a failed cargo-airport project that has brought false hopes but little impact to Kinston and Eastern North Carolina.
(5.05.11) CJ Editorial: The Global TransPark, Busted!
North Carolina needs to end its nearly two-decade-long commitment to this foolhardy project.
(6.09.10) Iffy Investments, Excessive Spending Drain Escheat Fund
RALEIGH — Investments by the Escheat Fund initiated by former state Treasurer Richard Moore have gone sour, and as legislators continue to raid the principal of the fund for scholarships, current Treasurer Janet Cowell has warned that the fund could go broke by 2012 unless the General Assembly turns down the spigot.
(3.01.10) TransPark Still Broke With No Way to Retire Debt
RALEIGH — Even though the Global TransPark has landed an “anchor tenant” in Spirit AeroSystems, a Wichita, Kan.-based company that is set to start manufacturing large aircraft components later this year, government incentives to Spirit mean taxpayers will subsidize employment at GTP to the tune of $200,000 per job.
(5.28.08) The Global TransPark’s New LEAF
To the extent they hear the details, most North Carolinians will be angered, not appeased, by the latest TransPark/Golden LEAF deal.
(1.03.08) Audit: GTP in Bankruptcy Danger
RALEIGH — The N.C. Global TransPark might go bankrupt because of its inability to pay an outstanding loan, according to a report released Tuesday by the Office of the State Auditor.
(7.07.05) FAA Disputes Legislator’s Claims
RALEIGH — A Federal Aviation Administration official disputes a recent Triangle Business Journal story about the Global TransPark that said the General Assembly must continue providing $1.6 million in annual funding or pay back $21.6 million in federal grants. The story attributed the legislature’s position to comments made by Senate Majority Leader Tony Rand, D-Cumberland. “Rand says lawmakers concluded they had little choice but to keep the operation going. Pulling the plug now, he says, would have required the state to pony up $21.6 million to repay the Federal Aviation Administration.
(2.25.05) Easley Announces New Jobs - Again
RALEIGH — Workhorse Aviation Manufacturing will open a manufacturing plant at the Global TransPark near Kinston, Gov. Mike Easley said Wednesday. The company will create 50 jobs over the next three years and invest more than $2 million in a deal made possible in part because of $100,000 from the One North Carolina Fund, he said. But in November, Easley announced that Workhorse Aviation would locate the same project in the Trenton Industrial Park in nearby Jones County. The governor’s spokeswoman wasn’t aware of the previous announcement and couldn’t explain why the company changed locations.
(5.27.04) Senate Panel Pulls Incentives Bill
RALEIGH — A bill that would expand funding and the number of projects that can be subsidized for economic development was tabled in a Senate Finance Committee meeting Tuesday. Both Democrat and Republican senators doubted the worth of the Job Development Investment Grant program in a lively debate. Some thought the legislation might have failed in a vote before its sponsor, GOP Sen. Fletcher Hartsell of Concord, asked that the bill be set aside. Current law allows the state to provide tax-rebate incentives for 15 businesses per year, with up to $10 million per year for the entire program. The new legislation would increase the potential number of projects to 25, at a cost of up to $18 million annually.
(3.23.04) Status of Boeing Records Disputed
RALEIGH — Carolina Journal’s attempt to gain access to records on the Boeing-GTP incentives began Dec. 19 with a phone call to the Commerce Department. One reason why the records weren’t released for nearly two months was that officials asserted some of the records constituted trade secrets that were exempt from the public records law. “The secret treatment given to economic development meetings and records in North Carolina is as restrictive as anywhere in the country,” said one attorney, noting that the increasing use of economic incentives will exacerbate the debate over openness in government.
(3.22.04) Post-Boeing, Incentives Debate Rages
RALEIGH — No matter how NC slices them, “targeted economic incentives” — such as the $534 million package offered to Boeing to start a new plant at the Global TransPark — discriminate against firms already in the state, both supporters and opponents of the inducements say. But they disagree on what can be done to solve the problem. “You’ve got to be competitive,” said a supportive lawmaker. “If we don’t provide jobs for our people, we’re lost.” But opponents say other policies, especially across-the-board relief for small businesses, would create more jobs.
(2.02.04) Regarding the General, the Navy, and the Airstrip
You know you've come full circle in NC public policy when the solution to your problem is ... the Global TransPark.
(7.29.02) College kids take over GTP
The latest plan to keep the Global TransPark alive was unveiled Thursday at a forum in Greenville, reports Carolina Journal Associate Publisher Don Carrington. Isaac Manning, a consultant recently hired by the GTP Foundation, told a select group of invitees to the forum that a team of five college students is developing a business plan for the project. The students working on the project also doubled as well-dressed parking attendants who greeted them in the parking lot before the event, forum attendees interviewed by CJ said.
(7.22.02) TransPark financial risk to state overrated
N.C. DOT officials have apparently overstated potential financial obligations in a recently released report on the Global TransPark, according to federal officials, reports Carolina Journal Associate Publisher Don Carrington. Federal airport grants to North Carolina fall under the authority of the FAA Airports District Office in Atlanta. Manager Scott Seritt told Carolina Journal that there appears to be a lot of misinformation being put out about the GTP in Kinston.
(7.08.02) Global TransPark owes big money
An inquiry from a first-term state House member revealed that the Global TransPark has an $11.2 million outstanding loan, information which was not part of the study recently presented to a legislative committee inquiring about the future viability of the GTP, reports Carolina Journal Associate Publisher Don Carrington.
(7.03.02) Global TransPark: Flying Erratically and Below the Radar
When Charles Edwards took over as the latest executive director of the Global TransPark, he told The Free Press of Kinston, “I’m overwhelmed and trying to figure out what I’ve gotten into.” Carolina Journal’s Don Carrington says his comments seem to reflect what so far has been a confusing year for the GTP. There have been conflicting studies, conflicting proposals for the use of the facility, and perhaps most confusing: conflicting and ever-changing leadership.
(5.31.02) Global TransPark: Proposal Letter to U.S. D.O.T.
Imagine: You and your family board a jetliner at the Global TransPark in Kinston for a trip to Disney World. Halfway onto the plane, you hear an explosion. Out on the Tarmac you see masked men brandishing weapons, surrounding another airplane. Surprise: Make-believe terrorists have commandeered a nearby flight. That scenario could become reality if proposals by state officials are accepted by the U.S. Department of Transportation, reports Carolina Journal Associate Publisher Don Carrington.
(5.24.02) DOT Officials Alter TransPark Study
N.C. Department of Transportation officials significantly reduced a detailed version of a legislative report to exclude information that the Global TransPark “is perceived as a major financial liability” and that abandonment of the “less-than satisfactory” project could spell disaster for state leaders, reports Carolina Journal Associate Publisher Don Carrington.