Inspector General Criticizes FAA for Helping Little-Used Airports

Thursday, August 13, 2009
Ouzinkie Airstrip (photo: Servant Air)

Officials in the U.S. Department of Transportation have allocated millions of dollars in stimulus funds for small airports, even though the projects did not qualify for funding under the criteria established by the agency. The findings were uncovered by the Transportation Department’s inspector general, whose August 6 advisory reported that 50 projects were given money despite the fact that they scored less than the minimum required 62 on a 0-100 scale created to determine eligibility for federal stimulus funds. Inspector General Calvin Scovel III said the Federal Aviation Administration chose low-priority airports for stimulus money so that every state got at least some of the funding.

One example cited in the IG’s report was the new airport in the remote Alaskan village of Ouzinkie on Spruce Island, population 167, which received $14.7 million even though it already had a gravel airstrip, landing area for sea planes and access to cargo barges. Ouzinkie averages 42 flights a month.
An airpark near Dover, Delaware was given $909,806 to design (rather than build) a runway because that was Delaware’s only “ready-to-go” project.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Inspector General Advisory Report (U.S. Department of Transportation) (PDF)


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