Representatives James Oberstar (D-MN) and Jerry Costello (D-IL) wrote an excellent guest column in today’s edition of USA Today on the importance of small airports to rural communities.
While a great deal of attention is paid to large hub airports, small airports rarely get the credit they deserve. The truth is: without these airports, many small and rural communities wouldn’t be able to get the goods and services they have come to depend on.
Many small businesses use small airports to access customers in areas that could take many hours or even days to access otherwise. Representative Oberstar and Costello said it best in their column when they stated: “Adding a four-hour round-trip drive to a business trip is simply unacceptable in today’s fast-moving, global economy. Otherwise attractive rural communities will lose out to already-congested cities…”
As our readers know, we here at the Alliance feel it is important to highlight the efforts of the volunteer pilots in organizations such as Angel Flight. But without these small airports, these pilots wouldn’t be able to access the patients that need their help. If they can no longer get access, what will the patients do? Spend $500 on a round-trip airfare on a plane that may be delayed, cancelled, or standed on the tarmac for hours on end?
Some patients need to go to a specific hospital, hundreds of miles away. Many cannot make the drive as many times as the treatment is needed because their medical expenses are draining their funds.
These airports are an essential lifeline to these small communities. They need to be kept intact so residents can continue to live their lives.
Read the USA Today article HERE.