Kudos, Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato
When politicians are doing the right thing, it’s appropriate for us to congratulate them and highlight their good decisions. This week, the big blue ribbon goes to a politician from Pennsylvania, Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato. Onorato, the 2010 Democratic nominee for governor, presides over a jurisdiction that includes Pittsburgh, a city that, like Saint Louis, is looking to expand airport service. Unsurprisingly, the usual consultant suspects are coming out of the woodwork in support of government interference in the private market. From the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:
“You should do everything, including underwriting flights, to get as many highways in the sky as you can,” said John D. Kasarda, director of the University of North Carolina’s Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise and author of “Aerotropolis: The Way We’ll Live Next.”
Sounds a lot like Saint Louis so far. But (emphasis added):
There doesn’t appear to be support for the idea if it involves public money.
“I don’t agree with subsidizing flights or subsidizing certain airlines. We should work to lower the costs of all of the airlines at the airport,” said Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato. He said the county doesn’t have money to provide such backing.
Pennsylvania and the Allegheny Conference on Community Development agreed to provide up to $9 million if Delta Air Lines’ flight between Pittsburgh and Paris missed revenue targets. They paid the maximum $5 million after the first year of service, but it’s unknown whether they will owe money for the second, which ended June 1.
Onorato appears to be taking the principled stance of not letting the government pick winners and losers at the airport. As to the airport, at least, Allegheny County taxpayers can be proud of its executive’s fiscal prudence.