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5 Setting the Economic Stage Ted Howard, Democracy Collaborative, presenter Panelists Shannetta Griffin, Columbus Regional Airport Authority Cindy Nichol, Port of Portland, Oregon David Birtwistle, Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance Ted Howard opened the session focused on economic sustainability with a presentation titled âAnchor Institutions: Building Stronger and More Resilient Communities.â He defined anchor institutions as companies, agencies, and organizations that are major employers in a community and have a vested interest in that community. Usually the top five major employers are anchor institutions. These are sometimes called eds and medsâreferring to educational and medical institutionsâand they are often physically rooted in place. He suggested tapping into these institutions as they are functional, discretionary, and economic assets. Howard noted that airports might look to hospitals that have tool kits on inclusion and local hiring, local sourcing, and place-based investing. Howard introduced the panelists. Each panel member provided a brief description of her or his organization. Howard asked each panel member to identify key economic challenges. Cindy Nichol noted that more than 60% of airports lose money and are subsidized in some way (for example, through Airport Improvement Program funding, essential air service, and local funding sources). She noted that in Portland, Oregon, the two general aviation airports are subsidized by nonaeronautical revenue from Portland International Airport (PDX). She also noted that there is a capacity crunch at PDX, so much so that the airport will soon be limited by fire codes and will have to constrain the number of passengers accommodated in certain concourses. Shannetta Griffin noted similar capacity issues in Columbus and stated that the facilities are aging. She also noted that there are staff resource issues at all levels of organizations at a time when the price of resources is increasing. David Birtwistle noted that challenges include airline consolidations, transportation network companies (TNCs) such as Uber and Lyft, and aircraft noise. An audience member asked the panel if there were economic pressures at airports and what innovation was occurring. Griffin noted that there has been much innovation. She specifically noted the emergence of TNCs, alternative fuels, and the multiuse and reuse of spaces and products. She noted that sourcing food locally was also occurring. Nichol noted that TNCs are growing and that airports have a choice: they can oppose TNCs or embrace them. In the case of Portland, the revenue from TNCs has been greater than the loss of parking revenue. She noted that private capital wants to get into airports and that Portland
6 has been meeting with local companies to teach them how to do business at the airport to increase the success of local businesses. Birtwistle cited examples of innovation such as the Dulles Matters1 program, airportsâ generating renewable energy, and enhancing concessions. 1 More information on the Dulles Matters program is available at http://www.mwaa.com/about/local-leaders-tout-dulles-accomplishments-opportunities-dulles-matters-ii.