May 2003

GREETINGS! First, Here's an update from Washington, D.C. A Bush Administration plan, outlined at a March 11TH hearing of the Senate Commerce Aviation Subcommittee, would call on small communities that rely on the Essential Air Service Program for commercial air carrier service to subsidize up to 25 percent of the cost.
The Bush Administration is proposing cuts in the program from 2002 funding of $113 million to $50 million in 2004. Read Van DeWater, assistant DOT Secretary for Aviation and international affairs, is quoted as saying that the EAS needs to be overhauled and is an inefficient use of federal dollars.

Secondly, The DOT Inspector General is warning that FAA may have to defer aspects of its ongoing Operational Evolution Plan, the agency's ten-year effort to modernize the system and expand capacity, due to rising costs and reduced revenues in the Aviation Trust Fund. The Weekly of Business Aviation quotes Inspector General Mead as saying that FAA cannot expect to sustain costs growth of recent years, as the agency has seen its budget grow from $9 billion to $14 billion.

Mead suggests that FAA make better use of audits to ensure it is spending its money efficiently and to verify independent government cost estimates on large sole-source contracts. According to Mead such procedures could help the agency save "millions."

Thirdly, Nearly a month after Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley destroyed the runway Merrill C. Meigs Field, even as court cases to force the airport's reopening get under way, the public-relations battle appears to be going General Aviation's way.

Forbes magazine publisher Richard Karlgaard took a swipe at Mayor Daley in his April 28TH column. Under the headline "Mayor Daley's Big Goof," he wrote, "This little jewel of an airport was an asset to Chicago's business community. It would have become more so in the years ahead." That's because of the new small jets coming online. These jets, particularly when chartered, as "air limos" will be ideally suited to business travelers, and Meigs would have been the ideal airport for service to Chicago. "Meigs Field was the perfect airport to serve tomorrow's air limos," Karlgaard told a national, business audience. "Unwisely, Chicago has surrendered a big asset."

Over the weekend, both of Chicago's major daily newspapers, the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times, carried stories about Daley's secret meetings with more than a dozen officials about closing Meigs during the 10 days leading up to the midnight raid. "If there was time for meetings, there was time to inform the public," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "It's further proof that the Mayor found it more expedient to blindside his opponents than to use the democratic process."

Last Tuesday, AOPA received formal notification of the city's long-expected motion to dismiss AOPA's federal lawsuit against the closure. The suit claims the city of Chicago violated federal regulations by not giving 90 days' notice of the airport's closure or 30 days' notice of termination of instrument procedures. A hearing on the city's motion is scheduled for Monday, May 12TH. Meanwhile, AOPA's warnings about negative ripple effects at Chicago's two air carrier airports, O'Hare and Midway, are beginning to come true. Residents living near Midway are complaining to city officials about increased noise at the airport due to increased GA traffic since Meigs was closed.

Fourthly, Here's an update Concerning Missouri Legislation. HB275, again seems to be held up in the Local Government Committee. If you know any of these Local Government Committee Members go to:

Now, What we still need to do as Missouri Pilots Association Members and Taxpayers, is contact these Committee Members and express your concerns to them, and that we need their support in passage of HB275 out of Committee, and how vitally important this is to Missouri Aviation.

Now, In Conclusion, Remember, we as USPA, MPA, EAA AOPA, or any other State Pilot Associations you may be a Member of, we all have a powerful voice here in Missouri, and Washington, D.C. So Let's not forget to exercise our privileges, and continue to make a "Difference for General Aviation."

Until Next Time!

Larry G. Harmon
Legislation Chairman
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