Friday, October 12, 2007

ATA Scapegoats Bike Racks in New Aviation Bill

A letter to the Editor in the October 8 Wilmington News Journal from the Air Transport Association of America CEO James May blasts the proposed 2.2 billion dollar airport tax increase for funding bike racks.

"Passengers want affordable fares and on-time service -- they do not want what will amount to an additional $2.2 billion in taxes devoted to airport bike racks and hot dog stands."

Devoted? The bill only authorizes that bike racks are eligible for these funds. Even if the largest 220 airports installed bike racks in the US each spent $10,000 (far more than most of us request) to provide excellent parking for 50-100 bicycles, that would total $2.2 million, or 0.1% of the $2.2 Billion.

The real strength of the bill is that it categorizes bicycle parking as a legitimate expense. It's a message from Congress that places like Philadelphia International (where parked bicycles are subject to confiscation) that intermodal could and should include bicycle to airline transfers and that airport employees have an affordable option to get to work.