Cities Back Airports

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It's been a tough year for airport closures and restrictions but, through it all, some communities are fully behind their local fields. Muncie, Ind., for example, voted last week to continue to help pay for the cost of private air traffic control at Delaware County Airport. The FAA abandoned the tower in 1995 because it didn't have enough traffic. The city hired private contractors to keep the tower open and the FAA kicks in about half the $222,765 annual cost to staff the tower. Corporate users pay most of the rest and the city will contribute $26,601. Not far away in Cleveland, Mayor Jane Campbell officially opened a new runway that will ease congestion at Cleveland Hopkins Airport. It was the only major runway project completed in the U.S. this year. Over in New Philadelphia, Ohio, the local airport commission is looking for a new site to replace Harry Clever Field because terrain limits runway length to 4,400 feet. A new airport would cost $10 million, but the federal government would pay for most of it. Just in case all this positive news leads to complacency, be aware that Minneapolis-St. Paul is considering sacrificing GA in the name of keeping its big airport in the black. The Metropolitan Airport Commission is considering selling six GA airports to cover deficits at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP). AOPA is fighting the move.