Democrats & Liberals Archives

Bush budget 09: Making our skies less safe

At a time when nearly every air traveler is complaining about long delays, canceled flights and lax safety at our nation’s airports, how does this administration respond? They respond by slashing and burning the necessary funding of the ‘Airport Improvement Program’ (AIP).

The Bush administration on Feb. 4 submitted its massive, 3.1 trillion dollar federal budget for fiscal year 2009 (Oct. 1, 2008, to Sep. 30, 2009) to Congress. Aside from huge increases to the defense budget (the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are not covered in this budget; they are covered through supplemental budget requests), buried deep inside the budget submitted for the FAA, nearly $1 billion would be cut from what Congress had approved for AIP —a 22-percent reduction.

The capacity crisis at major airline airports is at an all-time high and airlines are struggling with cost-cutting measures to offset skyrocketing fuel prices. Also, just this week it was reported that 2007 was the worst flight delays in 7 years (link). Why would anyone think that slashing the funding for improving our nation's airports would be a good idea?

The FAA has acknowledged that the most effect method of decreasing congestion and airport delays is simply by building more runways. More runways mean more pathways. The AIP is a program to fund such runway projects. AIP isn't just for major airports but it's also used for reliever airports as well. Reliever airports are smaller public-use airports used by large airports for overflow and congestion.

The AIP improves safety at our nation’s airports. Cutting funding is simply irresponsible and will increase the likelihood of runway incursions (link) and collisions.

Posted by john trevisani at February 7, 2008 8:05 AM
Comments
Comment #244780

I lived through Nixon, Reagan, and Bush senior and no other president has scared me as badly as this president. We can’t get him out of office quick enough to suit me. I don’t understand why we don’t try to impeach him and cheney. We are spending more than any other country on defense and the war machine. We could kill every terrorist ten tens over. It just shows you how much control and power the corporations and the corporate war machine has on this adminstration. I can just envision the CEO’s of the war corporations sitting in their lairs counting their dollars. It absolutely makes me sick and scared that these very same people will buy or steal the next election for the republican party just as they did in 2000 and 2004.

Posted by: Carolina at February 7, 2008 8:46 AM
Comment #244781

Hey John-

I’ll bet you a dime that, when all is said and done, this program will be funded at an increase and not cut.

Making hard choices is not the strong suit of Congress, especially in an election year.

Posted by: George in SC at February 7, 2008 8:53 AM
Comment #244785

Carolina,

The smirking chimp only has a short time left to kill, steal and lie his way to 2009!!!!

What do you expect from the little chimp????? He has not done a good thing once in his pathetic life? Some one has always been there to clean up after his dirty deeds!!!!!

Thousand of innocent men, women and children have sacrificed their lives just for the chimp and his buddies to make a quick buck!!!!!!

This is their last chance to clean us out!!!!! To suck us dry and leave an empty shell!!!! The little twit will not stop his disgusting behavior until they boot his ass out in 2009!!!!!

Every threat, disaster or government function has been seen as an opportunity for the chimp and his buddies to cash in$$$$$$

You can expect the same behavior in an overdrive mode until his last day as the smirking chimp king!!!!!

What outrages me the most is we let the chimp take over our country and no one said or did a thing to stop it!!!!!!

Posted by: Outraged at February 7, 2008 10:55 AM
Comment #244786

Between the overcrowded planes, airports, and flight paths and the TSA, I just plain refuse to fly anymore…used to fly a lot…airlines won’t be making any $$$ off me anymore.

Posted by: Rachel at February 7, 2008 11:06 AM
Comment #244787

Did you know why the smirking chimp had so much affection for Ron Reagan????
The chimp played Bonzo in the 1951 Ron Reagan comedy Bed Time for Bonzo!!!!!!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bedtime_for_Bonzo

Once again in 2009 it will be bed time for bonzo!!!!!!

Posted by: Outraged at February 7, 2008 11:28 AM
Comment #244788

George in SC-
I would think the hard choice would be taking money out of the hands of defense contractors selling us updated hardware for fight a long-gone cold war, and putting it to use making flying safer.

This administration wants to seem fiscally conservative but it’s going to do that not with a plan that Republicans can publically back without getting kicked out of office, but with deep cuts where people don’t want them, and steep increases where they don’t. And you folks still want the tax cuts, even in a time of deficit. Y’all have gotten so entrenched in your positions that you can no longer acknowledge you’re your own worst political enemies.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 7, 2008 11:32 AM
Comment #244790

Stephen,

You’ve got it wrong. We want tax cuts ALONG WITH spending decreases. We true conservatives want smaller government, elimination of unneeded programs and agencies and ending earmarks and set asides so that we CAN pay less taxes and still have a surplus. Tax cuts without spending reduction is insane and no TRUE conservative would advocate that.

On the other hand, Hillary wants to implement “Universal” (Socialist) health care. No one has stopped to think…40% of the budget is already taken up with entitlements. If “Universal” Health Care is passed, this massive boondoggle will eat up tax money at such a rate as to make expenditures for Iraq look like pocket change.

Tax cuts? Yes. Tax cuts without spending cuts? No. Absolutely not.

Posted by: Jim T at February 7, 2008 12:26 PM
Comment #244792

Outraged-couldn’t agree more.

Jim-read the first post we aren’t talking about Hillary. Can you stay on topic-we are discussing the current nut job in the white house.

Posted by: Carolina at February 7, 2008 12:33 PM
Comment #244794

Jim T,

I am no a conservative by any measure, but I totally agree with you. Tax cuts without spending cuts = deferred tax increases. That is the game that Republicans play. They cut your taxes to say that they are “conservatives” and buy votes. The problem is that government grows under these “conservative” administrations (Reagan did the same thing). Then when you get a Democratic administration they feel compelled to reduce the deficit and raise taxes, making them look like “tax and spend” Democrats. When what it really is, is deferred tax increases from “borrow and spend” Republicans. Bush may have cut your taxes, but he actually increased the tax burden on future generations.

As I said, I am not a conservative, but I at least hoped that while we were stuck with the conservative party in power of all of all branches of the federal government, that they would have at least brought some fiscal conservatism to Washington. Boy, was I disappointed!!! Instead we got debates on non-existent flag burning and tax deferrals for a “bridge to nowhere.” And now a record 3.1 trillion dollar budget!!!

BTW, the first record 1 trillion dollar budget occurred under the “conservative” Ronald Reagan administration, the first record 2 trillion dollar budget occurred under the current “conservative” Bush administration in 2004, and now only 4 years later the first record 3.1 trillion dollar budget from the same “conservative” administration. Conservatism is going to bankrupt this country!!!

Posted by: JayJay at February 7, 2008 1:22 PM
Comment #244795

Carolina

“Jim-read the first post we aren’t talking about Hillary. Can you stay on topic-we are discussing the current nut job in the white house.”

“I lived through Nixon, Reagan, and Bush senior and no other president has scared me as badly as this president. We can’t get him out of office quick enough to suit me. I don’t understand why we don’t try to impeach him and cheney. We are spending more than any other country on defense and the war machine. We could kill every terrorist ten tens over. It just shows you how much control and power the corporations and the corporate war machine has on this adminstration. I can just envision the CEO’s of the war corporations sitting in their lairs counting their dollars. It absolutely makes me sick and scared that these very same people will buy or steal the next election for the republican party just as they did in 2000 and 2004.”


you’de do well to follow your own advice. that first post is nothing but a rant of bush bashing rhetoric. the topic is actually the AIP budget.

Posted by: dbs at February 7, 2008 1:42 PM
Comment #244796

john

i don’t actually have a position on this as of yet. do you possibly have a link that compares last years budget with this years proposed budget. i guess what i’m getting at is, is this an actual cut to that budget, or just a cut in the increase in that budget?

Posted by: dbs at February 7, 2008 1:46 PM
Comment #244797

Stephen-

My comment was based on the fact that this Administration is anything but fiscally conservative. Spending has increased in all sectors since 2000, and I predict that this little line item will be fully funded and probably increased by the time September gets here.

As far as tax cuts or tax increases are concerned again this FAA grant program will be funded whether the money is there or not.

Posted by: George in SC at February 7, 2008 1:55 PM
Comment #244798

What amazes me is that Bush can stand there with a straieght face and state that this budget,the largest in history, is somehow fiscally responsible. Not even he could be that good of a lier. That means he must actually believe it and is as dumb as some believe.
I guess so long as it hurts poor and middle-class people it is responsible.Of course there is plenty of money for dangerious,de-stabilizing weapons systems of no use in our current conflict.

Posted by: BillS at February 7, 2008 1:57 PM
Comment #244799

Jim T

your absolutely correct. if cut you the waste out gov’t, we could probably fund a lot of things and still cut taxes, but that would probably eliminate many gov’t jobs, and redundant beauracracies. there are those who will fight this tooth and nail because it would mean the end of thier gravy train. can you name one time in our history where the size of gov’t has actually shrunk ? i sure cant.

Posted by: dbs at February 7, 2008 1:59 PM
Comment #244800

BillS

every year the new budget is the largest budget in history. regardless of who’s elected this nov, the budget for the following fiscal year will be larger than this years. whats the point?

Posted by: dbs at February 7, 2008 2:03 PM
Comment #244801


The Bush coalition may be down to three countries in Iraq by the fall. they are Exxon/Mobile, BP and Royal Dutch Shell. The Neocons have invested far to much energy and time in their grab for the oil lands and their Pax Americana to just roll over and play dead. To be continued…

Posted by: jlw at February 7, 2008 2:16 PM
Comment #244802

dbs,

Nope…I can’t think of a time the government got smaller.

You are so very right. There are so many “gravy trains” out there to reward loyal supporters of whoever is in power at that point in time. To try to cut those out would draw cries of “Foul” from the opposition…and threats of underfunding the other party’s “pet” projects.

The budget this year is like unto every other year recently. It’s nothing more than a partisan political hand ball to be batted back and forth until “in the spirit of political unity” they finally pass a budget that is under-funded and over inflated. And we get to pay for it.

Once again, TRUE conservative economics call for tax cuts ONLY when there are equal and opposite budget decreases. If you’ve got $8 in the bank, don’t write a check for $8 million. If you can’t pay for it, don’t do it.

Carolina wrote:

“Jim-read the first post we aren’t talking about Hillary. Can you stay on topic-we are discussing the current nut job in the white house.”

As opposed to the future “nut job” (Hillary) in the White House? As opposed to the current “nut jobs” in Congress? Also, I was staying on topic. The budget. My message, if you care to read it, was critical of a $3.1 trillion budget AND tax cuts when we clearly can’t afford it. My message is…if you don’t cut spending, don’t cut taxes.

Posted by: Jim T at February 7, 2008 2:20 PM
Comment #244806

DBS:

i don’t actually have a position on this as of yet. do you possibly have a link that compares last years budget with this years proposed budget. i guess what i’m getting at is, is this an actual cut to that budget, or just a cut in the increase in that budget?

http://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/aba/budgets_brief/media/bib2009.pdf
2007: $3.5 Billion
2008: $3.5 Billion
2009: $2.7 Billion

Posted by: john trevisani at February 7, 2008 3:01 PM
Comment #244813

john

on page 11 the 2.7 bil appears to be the FAAs request for funding for that item. is that the cut your refering to ? it appears they are actually requesting less for 2009 for that expenditure. the overall budget request is lower. if they got 3.5 in 07 and 08, why would they not request at least 3.5 for 09 ? it appears they requested increases in other areas just not that one. this looks like thier doing not bushs. enlighten if you can, but thats the idea i’m getting from that chart. BTW thanks for the link.

Posted by: dbs at February 7, 2008 3:54 PM
Comment #244814

dbs:
2009 budget numbers are from Bush. They have to be approved by Congress.

Posted by: john trevisani at February 7, 2008 3:59 PM
Comment #244816

john

that budget request appears to be put together by the FAA. here’s the opening statement.

“The FAA’s FY 2009 budget request follows
through on the President’s commitment to a safe
and efficient National Air Transportation System
while continuing to focus on accountability and
performance. Our request ensures that the
world’s best aerospace system becomes even
safer and more efficient during a time of increasing
demand for FAA services. For several years,
we have pushed to manage more effectively,
rein in costs, and better respond to our customers.
Our FY 2009 request moves FAA further along
this continuum, toward the performance-based
organization that the taxpayer and Congress
demand that we be.”

i don’t see how these are bushs numbers. the president can tell them what he’d like, but it seems they submit there own budget request for the fiscal year. they can always request more, which they have in some areas, but have decided this is not one fo them.

Posted by: dbs at February 7, 2008 4:20 PM
Comment #244821

john

Comparison of Budgets - FYs 2007-2009 - Old Versus New Accounts
($ in millions)
Accounts
FY 2007
Enacted
FY 2008
Enacted
FY 2009


Request
2008-2009
Change
Operations 8,374 8,740 8,998 3.0%
Facilities and Equipment 2,518 2,514 2,724 8.4%
Research, Engineering &
Development 130 147 171 16.3%
Airport Improvement Program
(Ob Lim) 3,515 3,515 2,750 -21.8%
FAA Total 14,537 14,915 14,643 -1.8%

while it appears they’ve requested 21.8% less for this expenditure, they’ve actually redistributed the bulk of it as increases in other areas. the actual overall reduction is only 1.8%. why is it a bad thing for a federal agency to actually ask for less? could it be they’ve found a way to accomplish the same goals, and at the same time reduce the cost to the tax payers? perhaps they discovered that they could reduce the budget for that area, and still accomplish the same thing while using the savings in other areas where it could be more efficiently utilized. seems like a win win to me. we save the taxpayers $ and actually produce a better result. throwing more money at something every year isn’t always the best answer.

Posted by: dbs at February 7, 2008 4:54 PM
Comment #244822

The airport improvement program probably contained a large appropriation for reconstruction of almost all the runways at Ohare, courtesy of former Speaker Hastert, the longest serving Rpblcn SOTHOP. This may have been reduced due to the decline in his influence after the 2006 election. He is retiring and will probably be replaced by race-baiting milkman jim oberweiss, proving that the Rpblcns always find somebody worse. His Democratic opponent will probably be retired Fermilab scientist Bill Foster.

Aviation fuel prices are skyrocketing? Good, we need CAFE standards for airplaines anyway.

Posted by: ohrealy at February 7, 2008 5:09 PM
Comment #244823

dbs:
Within the President’s budget, are the individual budgets of each department. The FAA’s budget is included within the Transportation budget. They are all a part of the Bush administration.

The 21% drop is attributed to AIP. i noted that in the original posting. AIP is a program within the FAA’s overall budget. They cut AIP substantially.

They never approved the new FAA funding debate from last summer. They just extended the current funding structure at current levels. The reason relates to the FAA funding program submitted by the Bush administration was written by the Airline industry and has been going back and forth ever since.

The 09 budget merely submitted the same budget that was submitted and rejected last summer by Congress.

Posted by: john trevisani at February 7, 2008 5:13 PM
Comment #244826

john

i understand they cut AIP, but the lions share was redistributed as increases, some very substantial, in other areas. why cut this one item? why not request an increase if you feel it’s warranted?

“Within the President’s budget, are the individual budgets of each department. The FAA’s budget is included within the Transportation budget. They are all a part of the Bush administration.”

the head of each dept submits thier request for funding for the folowing year. he may tell them what he’d like to see, but they ultimately ask for what they think they’ll need. what congress actually gives them is another story. i don’t see any evil intent here.

Posted by: dbs at February 7, 2008 5:29 PM
Comment #244827

Here’s a quote for you:

But both major associations representing airports blasted the proposal. “Despite all the issues that have come up about delays and congestion, it makes no sense that they want to take funding out of infrastructure projects,” said Airports Coucil International-North America (ACI-NA) president Greg Principato.

Both Principato and Todd Hauptli, executive vice president of the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) agree that the administration proposes the cuts every year because they know Congress will put the funding back in.


Yep, they always put it back in and then some!

The other here is that this is a grant program. Instead of these airports getting money from increased user fees, gate fees, or local taxes, they look to Washington for some magic money. Don’t worry, they’ll print more….

Posted by: George in SC at February 7, 2008 5:32 PM
Comment #244830

ohrealy

“Aviation fuel prices are skyrocketing? Good, we need CAFE standards for airplaines anyway.”

no the market and the price of fuel will take care of that. aircraft fuel efficiency has increased greatly over the years do to the increase in operational cost and competition for flyers. look at the new boeing 787 dreamliner i believe the majority of it is composit. it’s considerably lighter and more fuel efficient than anything in it’s class. i can remember flying in the old 707s back in the 60s that consumed fuel at incredible rate and were so loud you could barely hear yourself talk. if cars had kept up with aircraft i bet the average fuel economy would be 40 mpg.


Posted by: dbs at February 7, 2008 5:42 PM
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