By Matthew S. Lynch
Agriculture is critical to the economy of North Dakota. Today, about 90% of the state’s land is used for agriculture, with 40 million acres devoted to farming and ranching. Nearly a quarter of the state’s population is employed in the agricultural sector.
To help produce the food that fuels the nation, many farmers depend on aircraft to provide aerial application services, survey land, transport tools, and get to multiple plants and locations in a day. The truth is that aviation is often the 'behind the scenes' tool for businesses and farms to stay connected and profitable.
We have 80 public-use airports across our state so that means that our runways are often just as important as our highways -- and a lot of jobs depend on this activity and network of airports.
Especially for many smaller towns across the state, public airports serve as the lifeline to opportunity. Our local airports are used by business leaders, air ambulance services, young women training to become pilots, and aerial agriculture pilots who contribute to the growth of our great state. And for companies looking to grow and establish plants and businesses, having an airport nearby is crucial to keeping jobs in our state.
However, legislation in the House of Representatives is a threat to this way of life, proposing to separate our air traffic control system from congressional oversight, handing it over to a board of private stakeholders largely dominated by the big commercial airlines.
Under such a system, the airlines would be able to make decisions about where infrastructure investments are made within our vast national network of over 3000 airports.
We can guess how airports in North Dakota would stack up next to the biggest commercial airline hubs. The big airlines have a long track record of favoring more profitable routes between large hub cities, relegating service to smaller airports. In fact, in the last ten years or so, service to small and mid-sized airports has decreased by more than 20 percent.
It’s also true that, like our national defense, our air traffic control system is one of the things that should be overseen by our federal government, so we ensure we retain service to communities big and small, and ensure that our system doesn't just serve the biggest customers.
The airlines claim that they and other private interests can run air traffic control better, but mind you, the big airlines can’t get through a month without a customer service fiasco or a computer problem that causes major delays for travelers.
I would much rather place my trust in a system that is accountable to the public through its elected officials than count on the airlines and other private interests. For those of us in places like North Dakota, access to aviation is just too important to risk.
I hope that our Congressional delegation will continue to provide all North Dakotans this critical access that serves our businesses, farms, and communities.
[Editor’s note: David Gust is past President of the North Dakota Agricultural Aviation Association.]
December 13th 2017
December 13th 2017
December 6th 2017
November 29th 2017
November 24th 2017
OXBOW N.D. – Marcus Larson stops along freshly tarred Trent Jones Drive, careful not to spill his coffee swishing in a ceramic mug. He’s aware his 1991 Chevy pickup doesn’t belong amongst the neighborhood’s Porsches and…
According to a New York Times article titled: “Tinder, the Fast-Growing Dating App, Taps an Age-Old Truth,” close to 50 million people use Tinder. On average they spend 90 minutes a day assessing their matches. Men are three…
On the Corner of University and Northern Pacific sits a building that has just been revitalized. Once a horse barn, this large picturesque structure now houses Wild Terra Cider and Brewing. When the new owners Breezee and Ethan…
by Greg Carlson
On her biggest canvas to date, filmmaker Dee Rees paints a vivid picture of two American families in “Mudbound,” a deeply satisfying drama based on Hillary Jordan’s 2008 novel.Adapting the screenplay with collaborator Virgil…
Theater B is now opening its second show of the season with a play entitled "I Will Not Go Gently" by Jennifer Childs. "This clever one-woman show plays with our sense of nostalgia and shines a light on our quest for self…
by Megan Bartholomay
Believe it or not, “The Holidays” are upon us. If you’ve been to Target lately, and I know you have, you may have noticed that the Christmahanakwanzika stuff is already up (if you’re unsure of that term, Google it).In fact,…
By Tony Gehrigtonygehrig@gmail.com I do not blame any company for seeking incentives. Rather, I blame the government for giving them away. Incentives represent an unfair and unsustainable tax system that affects real people.Some…