Boises Biggest Threat To Economic Growth And Stability

Dated: 06/03/2014

Views: 3172

Boise’s Biggest Threat to Economic Growth and Stability  

Boise-based businesses are quietly being forced out of doing business in the region from the limited airline service to the Boise Airport.  

The Boise Airport (BOI) had a reduction in flights of 40% during 2007-2011, according to a recent study by (MIT) Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which singled out Boise as one of the hardest hit small hub airports in the country.   
BMC West recently announced they are moving their corporate offices from Boise to Atlanta, naming the reason as the lack of flights in and out of the Boise Airport.  Many more Idaho-based companies are reluctantly having to look outside of the state for the same reason. 

Boise’s economy is booming in almost every direction you look.  But this growth is being cut off prematurely from the failure to find new ways to entice airlines to bring more flights to Boise. 
Recent efforts have been made to help reverse this growing problem, as the Boise City Council pushed out an “Air Service Incentive Program” in 2013 to encourage airlines to add new destinations to the Boise Airport. The maximum credit to the airlines is $100,000, and an example of this incentive in action is the recent addition of new non-stop flights to San Diego and Houston.   

The Boise City Council just voted on amending this current incentive to allow more ways for airlines to use this credit, but they are not increasing the amount of the incentive.   
The Boise Chamber of Commerce president was recently quoted that “Boise's approach is about right” and that the airline incentives Boise is providing “can’t hurt.”  
While I applaud these initial actions, I disagree wholeheartedly that these incentives are anywhere near enough, I fear they are very short-sighted, any will not be sufficient incentive to really change the current course of damage the lack of flights is causing the region.   
It’s time for Boise and Idaho representatives, in collaboration with community business leaders, to develop greater incentives for the Boise Airport.  It’s time to get creative.   

13 million dollars was recently invested into the Boise Airport new parking garage that was completed in December of 2013, which will add to the convenience and functionality of the airport, but seems significantly misguided after losing nearly 40% of the flights to the airport in the preceding 4 years. What if the 13 million had gone to encouraging airlines to keep existing flights and bring new flights to this growing city?   What is done is done, we need to look forward a make smarter investments.
The consequence of not acting more boldly to solve this issue will be extremely damaging to the Idaho job market and economic stability.   
To reverse the course of this problem, we need to come up with incentives that make national news. We need to show not just the airline industry that we are willing to be aggressive in our efforts to bring more flights to the region, but also to the business community that Idaho is aware of its transportation shortcomings, but is willing to make investments to help solve them.  
The lack of flights in and out of the Boise Airport is the biggest economic issue for Boise and the region, whether elected officials and the public realize it or not. The damage it is causing and will cause over the next 3-5 years will be astronomical unless we do something more profound to solve it now.  
Not taking more substantial action will force a mass exodus of businesses leaving Idaho to operate in other states and regions or choose not to relocate to Idaho to begin with, which will further limit Idaho jobs and constrain new investment into the Idaho economy.  
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**Mike Turner is the Founder and CEO of Front Street Brokers, Host of the Boise Real Estate Radio Show, and Editor of the Boise Real Estate Weekly.  Mike specializes in Luxury Homes and Investments in Idaho, and is widely known for his comprehensive knowledge of local market trends and opportunities.  

Mike Turner

Trivia about Mike: Prior to working in real estate, Mike worked for few years on movies and TV shows around the world as a Camera Boat Operator and Marine Logistics Coordinator, including the TV serie....

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