By Sara Strzok,
ROAR extends heartfelt
condolences to the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, as well
as to their families and to aviation industry employees whose jobs and
security are threatened in the aftermath of this national tragedy.
Things have changed
a lot since Sept. 11, 2001-for everyone.
Here in the south metro, the skies are quieter, a fact that's sad and
troubling when it reflects a flagging economy and concerns about aviation
safety. Construction at the airport, including the North-South runway
expansion, has slowed to a crawl. Next year's budget for the Part 150
home insulation program has been slashed from $38.5 million to $7 million.
The Metropolitan Airports Commission has abandoned plans to purchase the
Bureau of Mines land to the north of MSP, land that may have been used
for further expansion. The airline industry has been the beneficiary of
a massive $15 billion federal bailout. Northwest Airlines, the airport's
biggest customer, is pressuring the MAC for rent reductions at the airport,
and has laid off thousands of employees. Things are indeed different.
In the wake of the tragic terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, ROAR has been
working to redefine its mission. These are our goals:
We will work to
bring you information:
As government, industry and private citizens reshape the role of aviation
in our local and global economy, ROAR will provide you with information
about how decisions made both nationally and locally will affect you,
and the way you work, live and travel. Monthly e-mails, special newsletters
and regular updates to our web site-www.quiettheskies. com-will make it
easy for you to stay informed and get involved.
We will help shape
What should transportation look like in the 21st century? Is the MAC's
2010 Plan still viable in a new era of aviation? Should business continue
as usual at Minneapolis St. Paul International, Eden Prairie's Flying
Cloud Airport and the Anoka County / Blaine Airport? Now, more than ever,
we need to look at new options for the best, safest and most efficient
ways of moving people and products around the upper Midwest, and around
the world. For example, the federal government is considering spending
up to $37 billion for passenger rail-Minnesota's congressional delegation
must be involved in that debate and we should be fighting to establish
high-speed rail corridors to compete with air travel between Minneapolis
to Chicago and Milwaukee. ROAR will work to get the media, business community,
elected officials and planners talking about new ways to approach transportation.
We will advocate
Things are shaky in aviation these days, and the industry was troubled
even before the events of Sept. 11. But the sky is NOT falling. The airlines
will recover, and they're getting plenty of help to do so. Once this starts
to happen, and revenues start coming in again (and planes are flying and
noise is increasing), we will pressure the MAC and the Minnesota State
Legislature to honor their commitments to metro area residents to mitigate
noise and airport pollution.
On a federal level, the unregulated growth of the airline industry has
resulted in a non-existent national aviation plan, a dangerously outdated
and overloaded infrastructure and a volatile industry that's overly vulnerable
to market variations. The aviation industry is likely to come out of this
crisis looking different. Smaller airlines may go under, and it's possible
that the already negligible competition at MSP will dwindle even more
if national aviation is concentrated in the hands of three or four mega-airlines.
It's time for state and local governments in Minnesota to address longterm
issues of regional airport capacity, competition and pollution. And it's
time, too, for the federal government to reconsider the FAA's dual role
as promoter and regulator of U.S. aviation. The MAC and the airline industry
have plenty of paid lobbyists, who will be advocating at the state and
federal level for little change in the way they're regulated and operated.
ROAR will work to represent the interests of citizens like you-people
who live near the airports as well as those who travel. We hope you'll