Monday, February 06, 2006

In Festus, Mo., corporate pilots seek federal subsidy

The city of Festus, Missouri, is looking at options for its municipal airport. At 2,200 feet, the runway is too short for most corporate aircraft, and a pilots association has a plan for airport expansion:

Get the feds to pick up the tab.

The group Citizens for Airport Economic Expansion, which currently runs the airport for the city, wants Jefferson County to take over the airport, in which case,
the federal government could conceivably pay for 95 percent of the purchase of the airport and its expansion through a matching grant program, CAEE maintains.

With an estimated $7 to $8 million price tag for the purchase and expansion of the facility, the county would be on the hook for about $350,000, according to CAEE estimates.
Pay $350K and get $7 million of improvements, to benefit owners of corporate aircraft. For a airport that hangars all of 30 planes and saw 20 operations/day in 2005.

It's enough to make one wonder how much it would cost to establish Amtrak service in Festus--a town the Texas Eagle already passes through. Not to mention what other train stations would look like if FRA ran a 95/5 matching program.


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