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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Scovel to Investigate FAA's Selection Process

The Obama administration used economic stimulus money to pay for 50 airport projects that didn't meet the grant criteria and approved projects at four airports with a history of mismanaging federal grants, a government watchdog said Monday.

Transportation Department Inspector General Calvin Scovel said he plans to examine the Federal Aviation Administration's process for selecting programs for the $1.1 billion in grant money.

Among the projects that Scovel said didn't meet the FAA's minimum score was $14 million that went to Akiachak, Alaska, a town of 659 residents, to replace its airfield. The town has a seaplane and is only 14 nautical miles from the state's fourth busiest airport.

Nearly $15 million went to another Alaska town, Ouzinkie, that has 167 residents, to replace its gravel runway. The town has a float-plane landing area in its harbor. Barges also provide cargo delivery from Kodiak, 10 miles away.

Other projects Scovel said didn't meet FAA's threshold were $4.8 billion for a new taxiway in Findlay, Ohio; $2.2 million for a runway extension at Wilbur Airport in Washington, $2 million for an apron at Warrensburg-Skyhaven Airport in Missouri, and $909,806 to design a new runway at a small airport near Dover, Del. He said those airports don't provide commercial passenger service and have limited flight operations.

Read it all here.

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