$500 Million for Palestinians but Nothing for Airport Control Towers

Air traffic control towers at 149 airports are said to close starting April 7 as part of the Federal Aviation Administration’s “sequestration implementation plan,” the U.S. Department of Transportation reported.

At the same time, “the United States has quietly unblocked almost $500 million in aid to the Palestinian Authority which had been frozen by Congress for months, a top US official said.”

The half billion dollars to the Palestinians would go a long way to pay for the operation of the control towers.

All foreign aid should be cut. That would save tax payers more than $40 billion a year. Egypt and Pakistan get more than $3 billion a year. Neither nation is friendly to us. And even if they were, it’s no reason to take money from me and give it to strangers. I don’t like it when money is taken from me and given to fellow Americans. Why would I find it acceptable to give it to people who do not have America’s interests at heart?

Funding for control towers should be paid for by the airlines. This would mean fees tacked on to tickets. Get the government out of the loop. The airlines that use the airports where the towers are located should pay the fees.

The same for White House tours. Charge a fee. I’ve never been on a White House tour, so why should I be paying for other people to take a tour?

There are a number of airports where tax money has poured in but with very little actually airport activity. Consider St. Cloud Regional Airport in Minnesota “that’s been virtually deserted since Delta terminated service in and out of St. Cloud in late 2009. Despite a $5 million makeover of the terminal . . . , St. Cloud’s airport has mostly sat idle as the city desperately seeks new commercial airline partners. St. Cloud received $750,000 in federal stimulus funding to assist with a portion of the renovation, but the project has thus far amounted to a passenger boarding bridge to nowhere.”

St. Cloud is chicken feed compared to the John Murtha Johnstown-Cambria County Airport in Pennsylvania. You may remember the late John Murtha, a pork-barrel Democrat Congressman from Pennsylvania. He worked overtime to get an airport built near his home so he could get a direct flight to Washington. The airport cost $150 million. This doesn’t count the day-to-day expenses for upkeep. Here’s how ABC News reported on the boondoggle:

The John Murtha Johnstown-Cambria County Airport has an impressive $18 million runway made of reinforced concrete that’s big enough to land any airplane in North America. The airport also has a $7 million air traffic control tower, a $14 million hanger and $8 million radar. Most of the time, the only thing the airport doesn’t have is airplanes.

An average of just 20 people a day flew out of the Murtha Airport last year [2008]. But, the airport was just awarded more federal money — $800,000 in stimulus funds to repave an alternate runway.

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The federal government provides a subsidy for every flight into the Murtha Airport of about $100 dollars per passenger, but even with the subsidy, there are plenty of empty seats.

People in the district love the airport. There are no lines. Of course, there are only three flights each day, to two cities: Altoona, Pa, and Washington, DC. How did Murtha get it built? He promised some other Congressmen that if they vote for his boondoggle, he’d vote for theirs. Why do these guys care? It’s not their money.

There needs to be an entire reassessment of every dollar spent. Entire agencies could be shut down. I suspect that the budget could be cut in half. It will take getting rid of a lot of congressmen and replacing them with people who will follow the commandment, “Thou shalt not steal,” even if they believe it’s for a good cause.

Funding for control towers should be paid for by the airlines. This would mean fees tacked on to tickets. Get the government out of the loop. The airlines that use the airports where the towers are located should pay the fees.