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Airport economic impact 5 years ahead of schedule

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Posted: Thursday, June 16, 2011 12:00 pm

By Anthony Scott

Killeen Daily Herald

A recent study shows the Killeen-Fort Hood Regional Airport's economic impact is five years ahead of schedule.

The results were presented at Tuesday's Killeen City Council meeting by Paul Scheuren, an economist with Austin-based Impact Datasource. He compared the economic impact of the airport to past projections in a 2000 study conducted by the Perryman Group.

"(The past study) was a prospective study when they were just thinking about doing the airport," Scheuren said. "So they were, I guess, trying to look at what the economic impact of the airport would be."

The Perryman report originally projected the airport would spur about $2.8 billion in growth between 2004 and 2014, compared to $1.1 billion without it.

After adjusting the numbers for today's financial conditions, Scheuren said the Perryman report projected the airport would spur about $4 billion in growth by 2014. That target already has been eclipsed, with an estimated economic impact of $4.4 billion after five years, Scheuren said.

"It's a combination of things," Scheuren said. "The area's had a lot more population growth. Is that because there were more jobs? Because something was going on at Fort Hood? The population was growing much faster."

The study, which cost the Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce about $5,000, also looked at the economic impact the airport had from October 2009 to September 2010.

Chamber President John Crutchfield said unlike most airports, Killeen's returns a profit. The report said within the last fiscal year, its economic output was about $27.5 million. The airport's direct economic output was about $50 million, taking into account businesses that operate at the airport and spending by visitors to the area.

"Most airports lose money as a matter of fact, so it was really time to check and see how we're doing," Crutchfield said.

Contact Anthony Scott at ascott@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7568. Follow him on Twitter at KDHcity.

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