In a bold stroke of investigative journalism, WaPo has nailed the Washington Airports Authority for excess travel by Board members and their families at Agency expense. (“Airport Board’s Travel Spending Has Few Limits” 13 October)

Great Work! Got them dead to rights…

But where is WaPo on the big problem: Plowing $100s of millions into the wrong transport projects?

• Overbuilding the Regional airport capacity and thus raising the cost of long distance travel

• Overbuilding the Regional capacity for short flights that are inefficient, pollute the ground with noise and pollute the air excess atmospheric emissions

• Dumping money into an airport that is in the wrong Regional location with short runways and cannot avoid creating world class noise pollution with the Core of the in the National Capital Subregion

• Agreeing to build a ground transport system the does not serve the needs of air travelers and without insisting on functional settlement patterns in the station-areas that would help pay for the cost.

But WaPo nailed those travel expenses …



Share this article


(comments below)


(comments below)


4 responses to “WaPo AT IT AGAIN”

  1. Anonymous Avatar

    Which is it? Overbuilding regional capacity for short (polluting) flights, or raising the cost of long flights?

    As it stands now the costs are paid by travelers. You think the costs should be paid by taxpayers who live in “functional settlements”, instead?

    You have a problem with short polluting flights, and you are opposed to higher prices for them?


    As far as regional airorts go,I’m not sure I know what you are talking about. Lynchburg, Shenandoah and Roanoke “regional” airports are actually full fledged commercial airports.

    Manassas, Warrenton, and Leesburg are clasified as reliever airports where business and general aviation class planes can get local service to the metro area without clashing with major jet service. Stafford is in the same category.

    Just about everything ele is general aviation. Virtually no regional airports (except as mentioned) carry commercial traffic, so it is hard to see how they contribute to high long distance costs or polluting local flights.

    Regional airports are sited either to relieve congestion at the major airports or to provide multijurisdictional service due to geographic isolation. General aviation aircraft using regional and reliever airports carry and average of almost four persons per plane, so they are truly shared vehicle systems.

    Commercial jets carry passengers for $0.25 to $.35 cents per passenger mile, including capital and operating costs. The liefetime of a commercial jet is longer than that for an auto because it is continuously recycled, rebuilt, and overhauled during its lifetime.
    At the end, valuable aluminum and other metals are easily recycled.

    Business jets may cost from $2 to $30 per passenger mile to operate, but their ROI is also very high, and carefully monitored. Air taxis operae for as little as $1 to $3 per mile, including capital and profit. For example, you can Air Taxi round trip from Warrenton to Roanoke with three people for $683, each way, leaving Sat AM and Returning Sun PM.

    That works out to $1.46 per passenger mile. By car its about 7 hours, vs two hours in the air. with an inexpensive to operate car the trip might cost $250, but you will be operating the engine 3.5 times as long (and at lower peak load). And your time must be worth something, if you think time is worth $20 an hour, that’s $300.

    All told, it isn’t such a bad comparison with other modes of travel: autos and buses often cost $0.85 cents per mile, not counting what some call subsidies.

    How short is a short runway? Mannassas, Stafford, and Culpeper are all over 5000 feet, plenty long enough for the aircraft they serve. The Tappahannock airport was reently replaced with a longer runway, but I imagine you would have a problem with that, too.

    Overall, airports in Virginia account for over a $billion in business, which I suppose you would call mass overconsumption.

    So, I guess I don’t understand what any f this has to do with dysfunctional settlement.


  2. Jim Bacon Avatar

    Going after travel expenses reported by a quasi-public agency is Investigative Journalism 101 — the kind of thing that students in journalism pursue. Abuse of travel and entertainment expenses should not be tolerated, but EMR is absolutely right: That’s the nickel-and-dime stuff. The real question — which WaPo is unwilling to ask — is what is the wisdom of the hundreds of millions of dollars worth of infrastructure investments pursued by the MWAA.

  3. Anonymous Avatar

    MWAA is building a $5 billion rail line to handle probably less than 10% of all passengers, but mainly to enrich Bechtel and some Tysons Corner landowners.

    I agree with EMR — why isn’t Amy Gardner writing this story? Or would the Paper even let her write the story? Despite the denials, the editorial staff decides what is printed and what is not printed.

    What did the Post receive from the Washington Board of Trade and the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce, which are both carrying water for Bechtel and the big Tysons landowners?


  4. Anonymous Avatar

    I agree with JB and TMT. I just don’t see what all the other gratuitous stuff was there for.

    On the other hand, if you want people to do work for you, then you should expect to pay them.


Leave a Reply