REGISTER VIEWPOINT: Bring federal pressure to bear on NASA airstrip

As far as the Federal Aviation Administration is concerned the answer is 'no.' That's the response Erie County commissioners
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

 

As far as the Federal Aviation Administration is concerned the answer is 'no.'

That's the response Erie County commissioners received earlier this month when they pressed theFAA to make an exception to its rule against fundingmultiple airports within a 30-mile radius.

The airport in Huron County receives FAA funding, which means the new NASA airport won't get anyFAA cash unless things change. It's highly unlikely a new regional airport at Plum Brook can be built without FAA funding.

And FAA officials made all but crystal clear that anexception was highly unlikely.

So it's a good idea for Erie County officials to now solicit help from U.S. senators Sherrod Brown and George Voinovich, and U.S. Rep.Marcy Kaptur.

But it's also important to try again to woo support from Huron County commissioners.

Previous talks betweencommissioners of bothcounties failed to bring abouta resolution.

We fear Huron Countycommissioners weren't given an opportunity to see any advantages to shutting down the airport in Huron County.

We don't blame them for protecting a property they see as an asset; one that receives millions of dollars in federal funding. Why would they agree to shut it down?

That's the question Erie County commissioners must answer.

NASA wants the airport, and Plum Brook has the potential to be a jobs factory covering the high-tech sector. Those jobs -- and the payroll taxes theygenerate -- will benefit the region, not just Erie County.

Erie County officials need to figure out exactly how a new airport would benefit Huron County, and then show their counterparts the wisdom of that view.

Demanding action won't work, and some written guarantees might be needed to convince Huron County commissioners a shutdown of the Huron County airport is the right thing to do.

Erie County commissioners need to go hat-in-hand -- not demand -- to Huron County and negotiate the best possible outcome for both counties.