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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Feds finally cut frills -- air safety inspectors

Having successfully placed a Band-Aid on the severed carotid artery known as the national debt, Congress has patted itself on the back and gone home for a month. That's interesting, considering that they've left the Federal Aviation Administration understaffed by 4,000 workers due to a lack of money. The workers, mostly inspectors, have been asked to work without pay until the toupees return to Capitol Hill after Labor Day. That should work just great.

There's something very, very wrong in this country, folks.

In any event, there's a big runway project going on this summer at the Portland Airport, and without FAA inspectors, we suspect that there could be delays in getting the work done. Perhaps our local mainstream media will pick up on this story, even if nothing big crashes.

UPDATE, 2:30 p.m.: Turns out, Angela Webber at the Daily Journal of Commerce checked into this last week when the furloughs started and we were lounging on the beach. According to the Port of Portland at that time, no delays were expected.

Comments (8)

Reality is that air traffic is way lower than it was even 12-18 months ago. Many of these projects could have been put on a back burner before the summer but weren't.

You might do well with routing any news media investigation suggestions through ODOT's Flack Department as their staff seem to control the show.

Thank God that the Tea Party Republicans decided that the $18M in the FAA's budget needed to be cut, since it's estimated that they'll lose ~ $1B in airport usage fees, which most airlines will likely still charge and just pocket, during this argument.

Now that's fiscally responsible governing!

As someone who works for a different airport as a construction inspector, I can tell you that the runway is not without inspection (as it gets worked on). Typically a runway project (which involves FAA money) has an airport construction inspector (who serves as an owners rep and another set of eyes), it has the FAA construction inspector and based on the way the contract was written up, it may have a construction firm inspector and/or an engineering firm inspector. We're all the guys standing around with clipboards. If the runway at PDX gets complete, it will still have to pass the FAA post-construction inspection before it is put in service.

Actually given that the purpose of the stimulus bill (more formally know as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) which was to create “sustainable opportunities for wealth, new jobs and increased economic activity in rural America,” I am surprised anyone would think there is a need for continued rural airport subsidies.

My only complaint with the bill passed by the House (yes the House passed a bill, the Senate has not) is that it didn't eliminate all the subsidies.

Next time Jay Rockefeller wants to gum up the works he can draw the subsidies out of his own pocket. I would remind Rockefeller, Reed, Durbin and Schumer, the way the process works is the House passes its bill, the Senate passes its bill and then a conference committee works out differnces. These candy-ass whiners in the Senate pass nothing, then piously demagogue their opposition. Real Men!!!!

Good video explaining much of this ... About five minutes


Sorry wrong link, although that also leads to an interesting video. Corrected link below


The FAA shut down is a GOP gift to Delta airlines:

Delta is in the middle of a fight to keep workers from being able to form a union. Delta wants the rules changes so a nonvoting worker, including one who might be sick, on vacation or otherwise absent from the workplace on election day, is counted as a “no” vote for unionization. Republicans inserted this anti-union language into the FAA funding reauthorization and are refusing to fund the agency unless Democrats agree to change these union election rules to help Delta.

My family is visiting this week from Minnesota flying on Delta. Their flight in last week was cancelled due to "mechanical problems," which seem rampant at Delta of late. They finally got out 36 hours later, which cut their -first in 20 years- vacation by 15%. Thanks Delta. They each got a $6 meal voucher though for their trouble.

I also just read on Delta's website that they are finalizing rules with the IRS to refund all the taxes they collected since the FAA shut down to passengers.

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