The Oregonian reports on a huge waste of taxpayer money, but fails to ask what the carbon footprint is:
Last summer, as economic tides ebbed, a long-awaited wish came true for small communities on the Oregon coast.
The state awarded millions of dollars to kick-start commercial air service to Newport and Astoria, linking them to Portland International Airport for the first time in a decade.
Powered by $4.5 million in state and federal subsidies, the thinking went, passenger planes would bring tourism and business to places in need of an economic jolt. The 30-minute flights — up to three times daily — would free residents from driving hours to PDX.
Less than two months after the service’s March 15 launch, the high hopes of some local leaders and residents have dissipated in a travel-curbing economy. In the service’s first six weeks, each nine-seater aircraft between PDX and the two coastal towns has carried an average of 1.65 passengers, requiring a state subsidy of about $750 a flight, which lets passengers pay as little as $49.
And yes, The Oregonian does point out that this is Green Governor Ted Kulongoski’s baby:
In July 2008, Kulongoski formed an air coalition and charged the Department of Aviation with helping to restore commercial air service to Oregon’s small towns.
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