Each year, trucks move 9.2 billion tons of freight across the United States. The trucking industry employs 1.4 million workers, and each day transports pretty much anything you can think of – tools, parts, materials, vehicles, animals, equipment. You name it, we transport it. When I started in 1996, I could not have imagined that we would eventually have 325 trucks and 1000 trailers hauling manufacturing and consumer goods across the US, even into Mexico and Canada. Yet, you might be surprised to know that this growth was only possible because of general aviation.
I started flying for fun later in life, but I quickly realized that this hobby actually could be a critical asset to our company. When I relied on commercial aviation, I was forced to take days away from the business. Since we began to rent our plane from Sweet Aviation in Fort Wayne in 2011, I estimate that I’ve saved a day’s worth of travel for every trip I’ve made. If I need to visit our satellite offices in Pittsburgh, upstate New York, Houston or Kansas City, I can at a moment’s notice.
When I had an opportunity to start a new contract in Kentucky, I knew I would have to spend the day at the factory, working with the client before I could come up with the best logistics plan for them. Since there wasn’t a commercial airport nearby, I flew myself and could easily get in and out of the area and move on to the next phase of the project.
Right now, our aviation infrastructure supports businesses and communities of all sizes in Indiana. General aviation and local airports ensure that our communities can access the critical services and resources they need. That’s why I have a lot of questions about a proposal in D.C. to privatize our air traffic control system. Without any Congressional oversight, how can we ensure that all businesses and communities continue to have access to our aviation system?
Our current air transportation system is currently the largest and the most diverse system in the world and our democratically-elected Members of Congress ensure that rural communities, small businesses and big, commercial airports alike are funded and regarded as a crucial, public part of our air transportation network. Let’s keep it that way.
– – Geary Buchanan is the owner and President of Buchanan Hauling & Rigging Inc., based in Fort Wayne.