AOPA answers ill-informed 'Boston Herald' editorial

April 25, 2007

April 23, 2007

Letters to the Editor
The Boston Herald
One Herald Square
Boston, MA 02118

Via e-mail: letterstotheeditor@bostonherald.com

To the Editor:

How and why does The Boston Herald base its call to cut off federal funding for a vital part of New England's transportation infrastructure on a single off-target Associated Press story?

New England's general aviation airports are just like our federally funded highways and waterways. We all pay taxes for and benefit from them whether we use them directly or not. Small airports are bases for law enforcement, life-saving medical flights, homeland security, for local economic development, for training the next generation of pilots, and for recreation. They also are economic engines that produce more than $2.50 in local revenue for every $1 spent.

The AP story relied on tired clichés and simplistic arguments - but few facts - in reporting how airline ticket taxes partly fund safety and other improvements at the country's 5,000 public-use airports. It merely restated the positions of the airlines, which want another bailout, and privatization zealots who want to put air safety under corporate control.

It's important to examine nonsensical federal subsidies. But the Herald is off the mark here. Applying the Herald's position, Boston's Big Dig would not have been "unjustly subsidized" by taxpayers in other parts of the country and Boston drivers would be picking up the tab.

That doesn't seem "just" or sensible to us. The 411,000 members of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, including more than 7,200 in Massachusetts, feel the FAA's funding proposal and the Herald's call to effectively shut down New England's critically important general aviation infrastructure are equally unjust and nonsensical.

Sincerely,

Phil Boyer
President