RTA, our member chambers of commerce, the Research Triangle Foundation of North Carolina, and the Triangle-J Council of Governments have initiated a regional campaign to support federal funding to replace, relocate, and lengthen the primary runway at RDU.
Background. RTA, the voice of the regional business community on transportation, released a report in July 2021 that examined capital funding challenges at RDU, including the need for the replacement and relocation of the primary runway 5L-23R at RDU.
Action. RTA members and other interested parties can join the campaign by sending a support letter to the U.S. Department of Transportation, requesting federal funding to replace the primary runway at RDU International Airport.
Identifying sustainable funding for essential growth at RDU Airport is the top transportation priority of the regional business community, and the campaign for a new runway will remain our primary focus on this priority into 2023.
Current updates – 2022
FAA Approves 10,639-foot Runway . An extra 639 feet on a runway might not seem like a lot but it is. It will make it easier for longer flights to the west coast, and open up more opportunities for travelers to and from our region.
RDU credited Alaska Airlines — a key airline partner — with helping to make the case. They also cited the partnership of elected officials, the regional business community including RTA, and other partners in our letter writing campaign including the Research Triangle Park Foundation and the Triangle-J Council of Governments.
RTA held its first General Membership meeting of the 2022 calendar year on February 23, 2022, where we received an update from RDU president and CEO Michael Landguth on the state of the airport and formally commenced our campaign for a new runway.
It is clear that even with substantial local and airport fee increases and continued, outstanding support from our state legislature, RDU will not be able to fund the overall capital infrastructure needed to support the aviation demands of our growing region without a significant federal investment.
As RDU historically has received only 7.2 cents in federal funding for every dollar of tax paid by RDU passengers into the Airport and Airway Trust Fund pre-pandemic, the campaign for a new runway is an opportunity for our airport and region to optimize the return on our federal aviation tax investments.
RTA focus on RDU funding — 2019 – 2021
At our 2021 Transportation Breakfast on July 9, 2021, RTA released an updated report from the RTA RDU AID task force that provided recommendations to address a $2 billion capital shortfall at RDU International, with the most urgent infrastructure need being replacement of our primary runway.
RTA formed the RDU Airport Infrastructure Development (“AID”) task force in response to a request by RDU Airport in summer 2019. RTA RDU AID task force members are a diverse group of business leaders from RTA member firms who are dedicated to the success of our hometown international airport and our growing region.
The task force began its work during fall 2019 by reviewing relevant information about RDU’s infrastructure and operating needs, and presented its preliminary findings and recommendations for potential sources of revenue and funding at the 2020 RTA annual meeting on Jan. 17, 2020.
The regional business community reactivated our RTA RDU AID task force in early 2021 to identify a stable financial footing for the airport, in what is now a volatile, changed, and lowered air travel environment as a result of the pandemic. The task force presented its updated findings at the 2021 RTA Transportation Breakfast on July 9.
RTA RDU AID task force members
- Joe Anglim, Senior Director, Corporate Strategy, Red Hat, Inc.
- Jim Beley, General Manager, The Umstead Hotel and Spa
- Sarah Gaskill, Head of Sustainability & Environmental, Social, and Governance, FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies
- Linda Hall, Executive VP and CFO, The Research Triangle Foundation of NC
- Rob Herman, GM/Executive Director, Workstation Business Unit, Lenovo
- Harold Hicks, Senior Director, Real Estate, Fidelity Investments
- Monty Irvin, President and CEO, Ramey Kemp and Associates, Inc.
- Gray Styers, Attorney, Co-chair of Infrastructure Practice, Fox Rothschild LLP
- Kristen Hess, President and CEO, HH Architecture
- Brett Le Cheminant, Global Head of Cleared Derivatives, Credit Suisse
- John McGeary, Middle Market Commercial Mgr., SVP, First National Bank
- Lee Anne Nance, Chief Operations Officer, Executive Vice President, Stewart
- Mike Schoenfeld, VP Public Affairs and Government Relations, Duke University
(RTA 2021 chair; ex officio to task force)