The airport in the western Pennsylvania county where film star Jimmy Stewart was born and raised — the Indiana County/Jimmy Stewart Airport — is getting $354,666 to remove obstructions and complete a runway extension. It was one of 35 small airports getting $18 million in grants announced by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett on Wednesday.
Would Stewart have been pleased — or as a small government conservative who was “an enthusiastic campaigner for Barry Goldwater and his close friend Ronald Reagan,” would he have opposed this spending?
An experienced pilot before World War II, Stewart flew 20 combat missions over Europe during the war as a pilot in the U.S. Army Air Corps. In 1957 he starred in “The Spirit of St. Louis,” the biopic of Charles Lindbergh, the first man to fly solo across the Atlantic.
The state portion of the funding for the Pennsylvania airports, $904,981, comes from the state’s jet fuel tax. Local governments are investing the same amount in matching funds.
The Federal Aviation Administration is investing $17.1 million in grants in Pennsylvania. That money comes from taxes on airline tickets, freight waybills, international departure fees, and taxes on aviation fuel.
“Pennsylvania’s public-use airports support more than 300,000 jobs,” Corbett said as he announced the grants. “When we expand a runway or make it safer to land at an airport, we ensure that they can meet business and community demands and continue supporting these jobs.”
The Container covers the transportation community in Washington.
Tom Curry (@TCurry_Himself) writes for The Container. He has been a national affairs reporter and editor for nearly two decades, having covered elections, Supreme Court nominations, fiscal policy and the health care debate.
Joe Warminsky is managing editor of CQ Weekly magazine and editor of The Container.