Report: Tiny Airports with No Customers Still Reap Federal Funds

Monday, 25 Feb 2013 10:47 PM

By Paul Scicchitano

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While the sequester could result in the closure of some air-traffic control towers and long flight delays, a tiny airfield in a rural stretch of Oklahoma and hundreds of tiny airfield around the nation are likely to continue to be eligible for up to $150,000 in federal funds each year.

In the case of the Lake Murray State Park Airport in The Sooner State, that amounts to about $1,500 per take-off and landing, according to a report in The Washington Post.

“Why have we not gotten rid of the stupid stuff in the federal government?” said Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma told the paper. He highlighted the tiny airport in his annual “Wastebook.”

Coburn said the reason was obvious. “Because every one of these . . . stupid or irresponsible projects has a constituency,” he said.

The publication reported that there are about 80 small airports in the nation like Lake Murray that do not have paying customers or planes based at their facilities.

“This is a direct gift from your congressman and senators,” observed Victor Bird, director of the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission in the Post article.

The commission handles the government allotments for Lake Murray.

“Everybody’s going to get something here, and we’re going to take some,” he explained.

The publication noted that the Lake Murray facility might have only a single landing and takeoff during an entire week, often by pilots wishing to visit the restrooms.

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