Thursday, March 21, 2013

Evart Municipal Airport (9C8), Michigan, Home To No Planes Or Hangars Receives Over $150K A Year In Tax Dollars: 'It's the "bridge-to-nowhere" that you can land your Cessna on' -Analyst

The town of Evart is home to fewer than 2,000 people — and an airport pointed to as a case study in government waste.

Evart Municipal Airport has two flights per day, one runway, zero employees and five "likes" on its Facebook page. Yet, the federal government spent $150,000 on the airport in 2012 while state and local taxpayers spent thousands more.

Patrick Hedger, a policy analyst at FreedomWorks, a grassroots, limited-government group, said he thinks the program is a waste of tax dollars.

"These ghost airports are a classic economic fallacy in yet another disguise," Hedger said. "It's the 'bridge-to-nowhere' that you could land your Cessna on."

So why is taxpayer money being spent on this project in a time of supposed tight budgets? Because of one bill from over a decade ago and government's inability to end bad programs.

There are five airports within 30 nautical miles (about 34 road miles) of the city. Evart is the only airport in Osceola County in the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems, a group of approximately 3,400 airports nationwide that are said to be "significant to national air transportation" and funded by the federal government.

In Evart, a small town in the north central part of the state off U.S. Highway 10, this essentially means building on to the airport to justify continually receiving the funds.

According to the latest capital improvement program submitted to the state, Evart Municipal Airport has no hangars, no fueling, no aircraft based there and an issue with deer entering the runway. Over the next five years, the airport has requested $1,072,884 in federal entitlements, $93,936 in federal apportionment, $89,553 from the state, and $534,678 from the local government. The nearly $1.7 million requested is more than the $1.6 million the airport has received from those sources since 2000.

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