Solution to Airport Not Doing Well – Raise Costs

Southwest Oregon Regional Airport – What is it with government types and politicians, who don’t seem to ‘get it’ that when times are bad, you cut costs, not raise them.

It is truly difficult to understand the lack of common sense that seems to permeate in government.

The following was sent in late May 2011 in response to the article which was originally carried in this newspaper. While it is Oregon, and not California, we felt the need to reply to this oh so typical bureaucratic type of behavior.

May 25, 2011– Unfortunately, in this action, Theresa Cook Executive Director of OTH, shows us that she is typical of most bureaucrats when it comes to aviation – uninformed.

Ms. Cook can call this an airport user fee, but what it really is, is a tax, plain and simple. And we all now know that what bureaucrats do best is to create new taxes versus learning to live within a budget.

To the uninformed, an airport is a cash cow. And most bureaucrats are naive when it comes to understanding that an airport is not always a money maker.

Ms. Cook repeats the mistake most airport sponsors make, and that is the assumption that all pilots are wealthy. And, subsequently, they should be taxed because of it. Of course that couldn’t be further from the truth, but it is important to understand the mindset of uninformed public officials when it comes to aviation.

What an airport is in fact, is infrastructure And infrastructure is defined as “the large-scale public systems, services, and facilities of a country or region that are necessary for economic activity, including power and water supplies, public transportation, telecommunications, roads, and schools” – note the public transportation reference.

Airport studies typically show that community airports bring in millions in business revenue to the area. And we all know that the North Bend area is not exactly easy to access, which by the way, is why transportation infrastructure such as airports are built.

I find Ms. Cook’s user fee analogy interesting – she states that because all 70,000 tax payers don’t use the airport they should not have to pay for it. Using that same analogy I wonder how many of the area’s 70,000 tax payers use the road Ms. Cook lives on. Certainly not all of them, therefore, shouldn’t that road be turned into a toll road to protect those same 70,000 tax payers?

The lack of understanding regarding the benefits of airports makes it easy for government officials and politicians to abuse airports. After all, as mentioned earlier we all know that all pilots are wealthy – don’t we? They can afford it, so why not?

Ms. Cook fell into the – penny wise, dollar foolish trap – regarding airports. And I fear as a result what she has done with this action is significantly reduced the earning potential of this airport.

Personally, I was planning a flight to play golf in the area this summer. I now know that I won’t be landing at Southwest Oregon Regional Airport. Why would I? Instead, I will choose another aviation friendly airport to spend my hard earned dollars at.

Ed Rosiak

President – California Pilots Association