The South Metro Airport Action Council was advised by a Metropolitan Airports Commissioner that Chair Vicki (Grunseth) Tigwell was orchestrating a negative vote on the Extended Sound Insulation Program at the behest of Governor Pawlenty, following a private meeting between Pawlenty and Northwest Airlines' President Richard Anderson. SMAAC President Jim Spensley noted that “No dialogue with the public, State legislators, or municipalities surrounding MSP is planned: just a simple motion to be sprung at today's P&E meeting to budget a token amount for the Extended Sound Insulation Program and to ignore Minnesota law, existing MAC policies, and assurances given by MAC to neighborhoods impacted by airport expansion."
"We received a copy of a message alleging that Pawlenty or his staff have been, and are continuing to, condition appointments to MAC on a Commissioner's pledge to go along with leadership and Northwest in most matters, because Northwest is friendly to the campaigns and goals of the IR Party as well as a major employer important to the State economy " Spensley said. "Indeed, this comes as no surprise to SMAAC. We have been aware of undue influence, as well as totally-BS noise statements by Northwest, for some time."
SMAAC says the "cover" -- that a few jobs are generated by hub expansion -- is eye-wash. "Expanding the hub disadvantages the small businesses in this area that can truly create good and enduring jobs." Spensley remarked. "Northwest requires a virtual MSP monopoly (and high fares), billions in Federal subsidies, hundreds of millions in State loans, and MAC allowing operations that are polluting and less safe to be an asset?" he asked. "Don't the Commisioners take an oath mentioning upholding the State law and Constitution?" Spensley said that the Pawlenty administration claims aviation job creation because airline employees were replaced by more US Transportation Security Administration employees and contractors, and that Pawlenty takes a pro-Northwest management position on out-sourcing airliner maintenance jobs internationally. Northwest's recent purchases of aircraft manufactured in Canada and Europe adversely affected the Minnesota companies making part s for Boeing. "Something is going on" Spensley said "but it isn't economic development."