Not for the first time, SMAAC is frustrated by elected officials being deaf to real public health and safety issues in aviation. This is exacerbated, at present, by the pandemic's two impacts on commerce and transportation: not only is air travel restricted for sound public health reasons, the industry itself was in turmoil after the recession and poor decisions were made all around since 2010 or earlier.
Government officials at every level might have done better. This is reflected in how MSP Int'l Airport has been operated without enough transparency or approved planning --now for more than a decade --by appointed bodies.
We were encouraged when 14 of 17 candidates for Mayor in Minneapolis made agreements with SMAAC to review the planning processes and aviation policy issues stacked up at the Met Council and Metropolitan Airports Commission. We were discouraged when only four candidates fulfilled their agreement and submitted Survey Answers; more so because the very issues that are prominent (policing policy and management, race and income disparities) have aviation parallels. Both separate policy from implementation with appointed management and too few checks and balances. And there is no direct public access to the police federation or to FAA and the Metropolitan Airports Commission about the indirect consequences of inadequate planning and unanticipated events.
In a few days, our survey panel will report how well four potential Mayors understand the costs, benefits, risks and ongoing aviation-impacted community harms. The other candidates can belatedly post comments.
Why would an airports commissioner vote each year for multimillion dollar operation and capital budgets without a disclosed plan including needs (services, security, safety) and community impacts (pollution, noise, safety and other risks)?
Why would the Met Council abrogate its responsibility for reviewing the long-term plan at least every 5 years?
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1: Clint Conner; 2. Bob Carney, and 3. AJ Awed. Mike Winter missed the cut. There is a parallel with the dominant issues in that sufficient and affordable services (local air travel) are a real need, but public health and safety risks (accidents, climate change, and air pollution are definitely not measured by noise intensity) must be limited.
Once upon a time, Planning was regarded by the public and the City government as pretty much the first responsibility of the Mayor, the Council, the School Board, the Park Board, the Library Board and the Board of Estimate and Taxation. Transportation, however, was planned by the Metro counties coordinated by the Met Council from multiple revenue streams.
The City of Minneapolis would benefit from a MSP Long-Term Comprehensive Plan, coordinated with the Metropolitan Transportation Policy Plan, based Minnesota economic growth needs? Our view is the Metropolitan Airports Commission has slipped its collar and now independently partners with the airlines, year by year, since about 2008. Minnesota replaced Minneapolis as the MSP airport Sponsor when the Metropolitan Airports Commission was originated by the Legislature (1943) to provide the air transportation needs for economic growth. Legislation (1967) created the Metropolitan Council to deal with complex problems involving various powers, duties, and responsibilities shared by multiple levels of government.
Most Mayors were aware when their powers were limited, but others were not. We agreed with 14 of the 17 Candidates that they would answer a survey, have their answers rated, and defend their position:
Q1: What would you expect from your appointee to the Metropolitan Airports Committee?
Q2, What causes local airfares to be higher than in comparable Metropolitan regions?
Q3. The airport has been very busy a few hours everyday and has been negotiating with the airlines and Federal Agencies over the maximum safe flights per hour since 2010. What do you think are the likely safety issues?
Q4. Win or lose, would you help SMAAC pursue a MAC airports Comprehensive Plan that addresses economic demand and health and safety risks?
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