Alternate States: For & Against Their Airports

By Scott Spangler on June 24th, 2009

The politician is an amazing form of life, a shining example that the only reliable human constant is inconsistency–especially when it comes to aviation, specifically smaller airplanes and their airports. Some, like those from Nebraska, get it, and others, like those in Ohio, do not (or they’ve never taken the time to learn).

JetWhine_Ohio Airports In Ohio’s general revenue budget the House gave small airports (like Dayton’s Wright Brothers Airport) $1.2 million a year for improvements and inspections. The Senate cut these funds to help make up a roughly billion dollar shortfall. The Springfield News-Sun article didn’t say what else the Senate would cut to make up the remaining $997.6 million. The senate did leave a few bucks in the rail and transit budget, and the Ohio DOT is going to see if it can transfer some of that to the airports.

Measured by a story in Sidney Sun Telegraph, Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson gets it. He just introduced the Small Airport Relief Act of 2009. If passed, it would ensure current federal funding levels for rural airports to help them remain stable during the economic downturn. As quoted in the article:

JetWhine_Nebraska Airport “Rural airports are an economic engine for the communities they serve,” said Sen. Nelson. “This legislation will keep Nebraska’s rural airports upgraded, modern and safe. Rural airports are counting on these funds. These tough times are, hopefully, temporary and rural airports shouldn’t be penalized by losing funds they need for runway work, security upgrades or other improvements to remain modern and up-to-date.”

This is not the first time Senator Nelson has gone to bat for small airports. After 9/11, the article said, he introduced a successful bill that maintained AIP levels in the face of dropping passenger counts, and he co-sponsored legislation to repeal a program that would have resulted in a 10 percent reduction in funding to certain rural airports.

The C-20A/B, military versions of the Gulfstream III, was chosen in June 1983 as the replacement aircraft for the C-140B Jetstar. Three A models were delivered to the 89th Airlift Wing at Andrews AFB under a cost-saving accelerated purchase plan. Upon delivery of the C-20B's, Andrews transferred the three C-20A's to Ramstein Air Base, Germany, and all C-140B's at both locations were phased out of the U.S. Air Force inventory. In 1992, Gulfstream delivered their latest model, the C-20H (Gulfstream IV) to Andrews AFB. And then there are the pols in D.C., who gleefully bash corporate execs and business aviation at every opportunity. In light of a recent ABC News report that tallied the taxpayer money congressmen spent flying the military versions of the same business jets, it seems these elected officials have made an art form of “Do as I say, not as I do.”

In the end, we really don’t have any one to blame but ourselves, because we (collectively speaking) elected them. —Scott Spangler

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One Response to “Alternate States: For & Against Their Airports”

  1. Stephen Says:

    Our wonderful Board of Supervisors for Winnebago County has done the exact opposite. When has anyone here stepped up to the plate and promoted the Airport other than EAA AirVenture?? Here we have two FBO’s at each others throats vying for a piece of the pie that rarely exists. One has to sue the other and the other throws carpet tacks on the apron. That’s a real winner for supporting GA at Wittman Regional Airport. It is time for everyone to throw down their swords and open up the airport for one weekend to promote flying, aviation, and the businesses engaged in such activity. Will this happen??…It could if these folks would quit their childish behavior and promote their facility…

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