Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Airport runway

Slow night in sports, so I'll turn to some local news. You know, you read stories about millions of dollars in government funding being spent on projects that don't make any sense. For example, there is this piece about $2 million being spent to beef up marketing and research associated with PA wines. I don't know about you, but I've tried many and really haven't been able to cultivate a tatse for PA wines. So, maybe the money will be well spent, but I don't know, can't we just leave the wine industry to Napa Valley, where they already know what they're doing?

Anyhow, I just wanted to point out that of all the government funded projects, the expansion of the runway at the Erie Airport seems to make the most sense, yet we seem to having a helluva time getting it done. My most basic logic goes like this: If you are going to invest 100s of millions of dollars in maknig this place a tourism center - and there is still lots of work to be done in that area - you could at least make sure you're airport is capable of getting people here.

It looks like the plans for this runway expansion continue, but that fact that there is still questions about whether or not this gets done really irks me. In my opinion, this should be like priority number one (that and re-opening Erie Golf Course) is we really want to execute on our vaunted tourism strategy.

I'm not sure who this R. Kingen is, but he put together a great letter to the editor that appears in today's paper, asking for an investigation into some of the delays associated with the runway expansion. He seems to blame the failed German cargo airfield deal as acting as a roadblock because it called for a longer runway than would have been otherwise needed and through some extra kinks in the planning. Anyhow, we need to continue to push to get thing done, no matter what the cost, unless someone has a better vision than the tourism thing....




DrD said...

Actually, PA wines have come a long way in the past decade. I wouldn't surrender all of the turf to Napa just yet.

Besides, wine tours are a huge tourist draw. It's a blessing for Erie County and Western NY to have pretty good wineries.

Once upon a time, PA wineries could only handle a couple of wines, basically Niagara and Concord (Welch's Grape Juice in a Bottle).

However, they've had more than a modicum of success in cultivating new varieties. The cabernets, in particular, have come a long way.

That said, however, I completely agree with you about the runway expansion. The fact that they haven't broken ground on this project is inexcusable.

I believe that the Iraq War has eliminated the availability of any Federal money for such projects. Once upon a time, Federal money would have helped with such a project; however, as it stands today, states are basically left on their own.

Ralph said...

Yeah, I guess we need to build runways in Iraq.

Melissa said...

When I'm in the mood for a nice, sweet(ish) white wine, an Erie wine is a good choice (and cheap!). We can leave Napa the dry red varities - Australia, too.

I will agree on the airport bit. We also need to step it up a bit with the service at the airport. I flew out of Erie this past Friday with the ultimate destination of Berlin, Germany, and wow, Erie is so slow at taking care of baggage and ticketing. It's convenient because there are fewer people flying, but there was no one at the ticket counter, and one person to ask for assistance. If they are wishing to bring a larger tourist draw, they must improve the airport.

Ralph said...

I guess I'm mainly attached to the dry reds, although I'll rarely turn down a decent Chardoney...Did you fly Luftansa out of Detroit? One of my favorite airlines.

Matthew said...

To further support the airport exapnsion lets think even bigger than tourism....(I don't think Erie will ever directly compete with LAX, but the correlation with International Business opportunities is valid...and who knows, when everyone fills up their car with salt water, and gets cancer cured due to Dr. Kanzius' breakthroughs, Erie has a very bright future for some expansive growth... )
Here is a blurb from study done on LAX:
To put this all in perspective, a 2005 study by Germa Bel and Xavier Fageda in Public Economics reported that a 10 percent increase in the supply of intercontinental flights can lead to a 4 percent increase in the number of headquarter of large firms located in the surrounding urban area. Bel and Fageda's analysis of European airports and corporate headquarters also found that knowledge-intensive sectors were much more affected by the presence or absence of these flights. A separate study by Vanessa Strauss-Kahn and Xavier Vives, published last year, examined the decision of U.S. companies to relocate their headquarters between 1996 and 2001. The authors found that access to high-quality airport facilities, including international flights, was one of the most important factors in determining whether or not a company moved and where that move took them.

The benefits of convenient international passenger flights extend beyond the passengers themselves. More than half of all air cargo is transported in the cargo hold of passenger aircraft. LAEDC points out those industries that depend on LAX flights to ship their goods overseas are often involved in high-tech manufacturing, such as electronics and bio-medical instrument companies, and that proximity to international flights is a significant boon for regional exports.

The LAEDC report recommends that LAX facilities be upgraded to accommodate the latest generation of passenger planes, including the Airbus A-380 and the Boeing B-787. This will help the airport and the economy remain competitive against smaller-but-expanding airports. Given current market trends, the group estimates that LAX could add 11 new daily nonstop international flights by 2011, and these flights could generate as many as 34,000 new jobs and $1.7 million in new wages within the Los Angeles region.

Download "The Economic Activity Dependent on Overseas Flights at LAX" at:

Ralph said...

Solid contribution there. I guess the explains the big push for the German cargo deal. Unforuntately, for reasons I still don't completely understand, it fell through. But, at least according to the study you cited, somebody involved with Erie would appear to have been on the right path. That's good to see.