Obviously we'll get more visitors if there is convenient and inexpensive air travel, but with the costs of airport parking, tickets, and bag fees, drive to the airport, hour or more you need to arrive before your flight, time for 2 flights, time to claim baggage, and get a rental car or shuttle .................. anyone only 8 hours away is much better off driving!
Infrastructure dollars are finite, and should be allocated in such a way that the government gets the best possible return on its investment. For the cost of the new airport, you can build a lot of limited access highway miles and extensions of current water/sewer grid to areas opened up for higher density development.
it just strikes me as comical that an airport can be controversial given the acreage that was given for it's construction. This is one of the rare times when government is thinking forward. imagine the airport being needed too late, and negotiating fair market value for the land.