Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Ryan Sequesters the Janesville Airport

Back in June 1999, Rep. Paul Ryan(R-Wis.), now House Budget Committee chairman, took to the House floor to ask for federal funding for an airport in his district.

"The Rock County Airport is in desperate need of improving," he said at the time. "Rock County began work on these improvements but federal assistance is needed to address this immediate need. These improvements are critical not only to the local businesses in the district I represent but also to the local economy and the livelihood of the employees who work at these businesses."

The video surfaced briefly during the 2012 campaign, as evidence of a self-styled fiscal conservative hypocritically pleading for federal funds. Now, the Rock County Airport is back in the news with officials there worried that it could be on the chopping block should the sequester hit. As the reported:

    For the federal government, it’s just another small airport.

    For Rock County, it’s a crucial part of economic infrastructure that could take an operational hit — unless the elected officials can reach a budget compromise.

    On Friday, the Federal Aviation Administration announced it was making plans for the possible “sequestration” — the automatic budget cuts that would go into effect Friday, March 1, if no budget agreement is reached.

    Those FAA plans include instituting furlough days for almost all employees and closing more than 100 air traffic control towers at airports with fewer than 150,000 flight operations or 10,000 commercial operations each year.

    The Southern Wisconsin Regional Airport in Janesville falls into that category.

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