RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — So the Global TransPark isn’t a boondoggle any more?

One tenant, albeit a big one, and 1,000 jobs pledged over a decade-long commitment at Kinston proves GTP backers right after nearly $90 million in state and federal subsidies?

One tenant and 1,000 jobs makes the GTP the “best thing we’ve got going in North Carolina”?

Please, governor.

Yes, a tip of the hat is due to Gov. Mike Easley, former Govs. Jim Hunt and Jim Martin and state and local government officials who kept the GTP on life support for 15 years. Their persistence paid off Wednesday when Spirit AeroSystems said it would build a manufacturing facility in Kinston.

However, North Carolina taxpayers will pay a hefty price for the plant. And The Skinny just doesn’t buy into Easley’s political hyperbole about what the Spirit decision means.

“The Global TransPark is the best thing we’ve got going in North Carolina,” Easley boasted at a press conference at the airport-cum-industrial park.

Oh, sure. Better than the biotech industry that employs some 50,000 people?

Better than Research Triangle Park and its high-tech as well as life-science companies?

Better than IBM, which alone employs some 12,000 people across the state?

Maybe, just maybe, the GTP will attract more tenants once Spirit is in place and shipping aircraft fuselages to Europe for Airbus. Maybe, just maybe, Spirit might grow its labor force to 4,000 or 5,000 people.

Maybe, just maybe, the GTP will get off life support – the taxpayers’ subsidies – in the near future.

"We have had, every year, someone take the Global TransPark to the graveyard, and we’ve always been able to drive the hearse back. Today, we start to silence all of those naysayers over the years who have been heckling from the sidelines,” Easley proclaimed.

He also said Hunt and Martin had conveyed to him a message: “Thank you for proving us right.”

Sorry, governors. You haven’t been proved right yet – by a long shot.

The Skinny is a long-time advocate of economic incentives, such as those provided for Dell, Google, HondaJet, NetApp, Fidelity and life-science projects by Novartis, Quintiles Transnational and others. The state’s bid for NetJets made $en$e.

However, the GTP has been a money pit for many years. Spirit won’t change that in the short term. In fact, The Skinny wagers that some legislators soon will call for MORE investments in the project to make it MORE appealing.

For the sake of eastern North Carolina and the state as a whole, the GTP does need to succeed. Spirit shows the GTP still has promise. Th GTP’s infrastructure made North Carolina a viable prospect for a Boeing plant. Maybe another project will come to the GTP.

But Easley’s political boasting on Wednesday simply went too far.

“Today, North Carolina becomes an aerospace center not only in the United States but the world,” he said.

We’ll see.

As for now, congratulations to the folks who made the Spirit recruitment project a success. Just don’t forget the costs.

Golden LEAF is forking over $100 million – a record amount – for the project. State and local incentives add up to a lot more, and Easley chipped in $5 million – also a record – from the One North Carolina Fund, which he controls.

That’s a lot of money for 1,000 jobs – and for a project that hardly makes the GTP “the best thing we’ve got going in North Carolina.”