"Too many to be true" (Transcript story, 2/9/08) is a thinly disguised, hollow rebuttal to local residents' concern over wasteful spending with regards to the Harriman West Airport Improvement Project (AIP).Bergman then tries the guilt by association game by claiming that since there has been fraud with other airport's improvement projects local residents should be outraged and demand that Harriman West's safety upgrade be stopped!!! Outraged, I tell you!!! Blah, blah, blah.
I'm sure that, with little effort, I could add a hundred signatures to the list of people who "scoff" at the airport's reputed yearly operations.
It comes as no surprise that the FAA backs up those numbers due to the fact that they rely solely on the"Sponsor"(cityofNorth Adams) to provide them -- a sponsor that, by the way, unashamedly admits to not keeping records!
Airports that receive federal grant money (Harriman and West got $150k in 2007) are required by FAR Part 77 to "identify and mitigate hazards to navigable airspace at their airport". In the case of H-W, having a 4200 foot runway means that any object penetrating a 100:1 slope within 20,000 feet of the runway (in any direction!) is "potentially" subject to regulation.Maybe Mr. Bergman should start reading the FAA regs rather than Reason Magazine for his facts. He might actually learn something useful.
In more practical terms, it means that the airport has a regulatory obligation to knock down any growing obstruction (like a tree) that tries to penetrate an imaginary surface that slopes upward from a line at ground level 500 feet off of each end of the runway, up to 750 feet each side, at a 20:1 slope, out another 5000 feet. A 50 foot tree a half mile from the runway and 300 (or even more) feet off centerline is fair game.
The thing is, this regulation doesn't have anything to do with the number of operations an airport has. All that matters is that it is public, and it receives federal funds. It has to comply.