Monday, March 28, 2011

Rep Allen West Secures $21M In Federal Grants For His District

I think maybe Rep. Allen West might need to check the tea party definition of "wasteful spending". And it pains me to say this because of the new freshmen congressmen is one of my favorites. But earlier today Rep. West announced that he has secured $21 Million federal grant for a runway project Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood Airport, in his district.

The runway project will generate at least 11,000 jobs and be complete in the fall of 2014 with an estimated budget of $791 million, the release said, noting that West worked "to ensure the funds would be allocated to the runway project."

It's not unusual for politicians to "announce" federal funding, even if projects got rolling long before they were in office. But West was among the ardent anti-government spending, pro-private sector Republicans elected in November. His office has noted that the airport money does not come from the massive stimulus package passed under President Obama.

West's office pointed out the money comes from a trust fund filled with fees on airline tickets, and emphasized that he does not oppose all government spending, just wasteful spending.

Rep. West is correct it does not come from Obama Stimulus money, it comes from "stimulus" money that was enacted in 1970, Airport and Airways Trust Fund Act.

The Airport and Airway Trust Fund (AATF) was created by the Airport and Airway Revenue Act of 1970, and provides funding for the federal commitment to the nation's aviation system through several aviation-related excise taxes (MS Excel). Funding currently comes from:

Collections related to passenger tickets
Passenger flight segments
International arrivals/departures
Cargo waybills
Aviation fuels
Frequent flyer mile awards from non-airline sources like credit cards

The Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Office of Aviation Policy and Plans (APO) monitors the health of the aviation trust fund. The APO reviews trust fund revenue collections, forecasts aviation-related activities, and models expected tax revenue collections. In addition, APO analyzes the potential effects of changes to the fund's sources or structure.

While it is not uncommon for congressmen to help get funding for projects in their home districts, it is a little odd for Rep. West who was one of the outspoken tea party representative who voted against Republican Leadership in the recent vote of the continue resolution. You can read about that in my post, Why are the Republican fighting?

Rep. West was one of the last congressman I thought we would have to reminded that "We The People" are watching.

No comments:

Post a Comment