For Immediate Release
Naomi Seligman 202.408.5565
CREW Urges Sen. DeMint to End Federal Funding for Little-Used Airport in Rep. Hal Rogers’ District
WASHINGTON - Today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) sent a letter to Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), as the senator pushes to end the flow of federal funds earmarked by Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) to a little-used airport in the representative's congressional district. CREW's letter alerts Sen. DeMint to a similarly-funded and little-used airport in Rep. Hal Rogers' (R-KY) district, and urges the senator to include this airport in his efforts to eliminate wasteful government spending.
After receiving a $3 million grant in 2003 from the Federal Aviation Administration, Lake Cumberland Regional Airport in Rep. Rogers' hometown of Somerset, Kentucky sat empty for three years while searching for airline carrier service. In 2005, Rep. Rogers asked then-Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta for an annual $1 million flight-subsidizing grant for the airport, which the airport received. The airport's first commercial flight did not take off until December 27, 2008, and flew only 45 minutes to nearby Nashville, Tennessee. As of June 2009, there are also flights between Somerset and Washington Dulles International Airport on Monday mornings and Friday evenings.
Lake Cumberland Regional Airport's situation is strikingly similar to that of the John P. Murtha Airport in Rep. Murtha's congressional district. Rep. Murtha has secured earmarks totaling $150 million dollars over the past ten years to benefit the airport, yet an average of 20 people per day flew out in 2008 on one of the airport's three daily departing flights - all to Washington, D.C.
CREW executive director Melanie Sloan said today, "While we applaud Sen. DeMint's efforts to reduce wasteful spending, we'd like to see him take a more even-handed approach. Rep. Rogers' airport no more merits federal funding than does Rep. Murtha's. Wasteful spending is wasteful spending - regardless of party affiliation."
Read CREW's letter to Sen. DeMint and a PDF of articles cited in the Related Documents section on the right.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting ethics and accountability in government and public life by targeting government officials -- regardless of party affiliation -- who sacrifice the common good to special interests. CREW advances its mission using a combination of research, litigation and media outreach.