Poor Wilbur, Washington

I’ve been thinking all day about the plight of the Wilbur Airport in Wilbur, Washington. There they are, about an hour west of Spokane in lovely Lincoln County, trying to improve their runway with some stimulus funds, and now they’re caught up in one of the inevitable “Stimulus Waste?” controversies.

If you haven’t been following the story, the FAA’s inspector general has been questioning six airport projects with “questionable economic benefit” that have gotten stimulus funding from the Federal Aviation Administration. According to the IG, Wilbur Airport doesn’t provide commercial service and scored too low on the FAA’s objective prioritization point scale. The FAA disagrees.

What’s interesting to me is what the FAA says in its disagreement, including that their priority is “laying the groundwork for economic recovery,” which is different than “stimulating the economy.” It’s actually much closer to my point about how this isn’t a “stimulus bill” but an investment in our country’s long term (21st century and beyond) economic viability. Just thought I’d call that out. And a talking point for the Mayor of Wilbur when he’s on Fox News tomorrow…


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