Saturday, May 2, 2020

Government COVID-19 Stimulus Funding Resulted in One Airport Getting Paid 50 Years Worth of Its Future Expenses

Devil's Lake, North Dakota

This should come as little surprise since the COVID-19 "stimulus" package was passed in the middle of the night with congressmen not getting any time to read it before the vote.

A tiny airport in Devils Lake, N.D., scored enough money under the federal stimulus law to cover its expenses for 50 years. But one of the country's busiest airports, JFK International in New York, got barely enough aid to make it through three months of operations, reports Politico.

According to Politico  (my bold):
Congress and the Federal Aviation Administration wrote the legislation to give an edge to small airports, according to House aides and airport analysts — but in the process, they created massive disparities in funding from one airport to another.

The divergent outcomes for airports reveal how important obscure legislative language can be when it comes to the unprecedented economic stimulus packages Congress has passed. Across the multitrillion dollar federal rescue effort, there’s been a series of fits and starts, with some enterprises getting money quickly, while others suffer — often without knowing why.

The story behind the $10 billion in airport funding effort is simple: Airports with little or no debt and a decent amount of cash on hand were entitled to receive a relatively large share of the money. But that inherently benefited small airports because they don’t have the huge amounts of debt associated with capital projects at larger airports.
Merrill Field, a small airport in Alaska that largely serves small planes, is scheduled to receive nearly $18 million, worth about nine years of its expenses. Its manager told the Anchorage Daily News that it was the "most money invested in Merrill Field in the past five years, if not ever."

And John Murtha Johnstown-Cambria County Airport is set to receive over $5 million. It averaged about a dozen daily passenger boardings in 2018.

Pro-tip to any corporation or businessman who needs to get something done in Washington D.C., find out who the small airport lobbyist is and hire him.


1 comment:

  1. "... because they don’t have the huge amounts of debt associated with capital projects at larger airports."

    Well, I travel frequently across the world and can tell you one thing, airports are like mega temples where money is no object. There is such an incredible amount of waste in the boondoggle airport terminals built to lavishly impress. While some may like that, it certainly is a waste for the basic traveler getting from point A to point B.

    In a sense, yes, small airports aren't burdened by capital projects taken on by larger airports. But again, vast majority of those larger airports have spent money like there is no tomorrow. Well, tomorrow came.