Monday, March 17, 2014

To (not) Fly

I am a little surprised by the muted coverage over the sudden departure of the pseudo-acting head of the Allegheny County Airport Authority. If you look back over time at the energy and effort put into the airport as a nexus (I was going to use the word 'hub,' but thought better of it) of regional economic development, this must be like the most important job in all of Southwestern Pennsylvania. But Friday afternoon news is... well.. Friday afternoon news. Monday, as always, starts a new work-week. 

Don't worry too much about Mr. Penrod in the long run. If recent history is a guide, he will wind up with a (possibly better paying) job elsewhere in the future. 

For sure the airport has been challenged to keep flight service for some time now, but whose fault is that? The state was taking the lead pushing a plan to get more flights via PIT to other Pennsylvania airports. The state as in folks in Harrisburg, or so I read. Supposedly this was one of all those sure-thing spin-offs of natural gas development across the state. In fact there has been developments in flight service at smaller Pennsylvania airports of late, but it isn't working out as envisioned. In northeast PA, recently expanded service for Scranton, PA was via Atlanta. New service for Erie, PA was to Chicago.The state's plan does not seem to be working so of course it must make sense to fire the local guy.

But flight service is one thing, the real food fight is already underway over how to make fungible all of the shale development cash to come to the airport. Finding a way to get around the general FAA rules that want airport generated revenues to remain at the airport may be the real center of gravity at the airport these days.  If you parse out what fraction of the county's budget is really discretionary, I wonder how it compares to the potential new cash we are talking about. Anyone?

So what can we justify using airport revenues for in a way that accrues back to the county's budget. That is the question.  I am only partial to WWVB's plan for a multimodal transportation center Downtown near the corner of Grant and Liberty.  Nobody ever thought of that before. (We really have a different definition of multi-modal in this town)

To Fly, btw... still the best documentary.


Blogger ing said...

thanks for these links - vannevar's proposal is brilliant. and since you also linked the busway blog (and a hillslide fell on east busway recently) -- do you know if anyone has proposed adding a homewood stop to the busway? seems like a reasonable idea that could help the hood

Tuesday, March 18, 2014 1:15:00 PM  
Anonymous MH said...

There's already a Homewood stop on the busway.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014 3:05:00 PM  
Anonymous BrianTH said...

Last I knew the airport was still getting gambling money. The state could legally switch that over to the County without running afoul of the FAA rule.

Saturday, March 22, 2014 7:35:00 AM  

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