When then President-elect Barack Obama named retiring Republican congressman Ray LaHood (R-Ill.) to become his first secretary of transportation on Dec. 19, 2008, it raised more than a few eyebrows on both sides of the legislative aisle. But political blood proved thicker than water.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced to DOT employees this morning that he will not be staying on for a second term. The former seven-term Congressman was the lone Republican in President Obama’s first Cabinet. During his four years as DOT secretary, LaHood was Obama’s point man for increased infrastructure spending to help heal the economy. He said he will stay on until his successor is confirmed.
The Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) for Chicago and its surrounding region has publicly charged United Airlines and American Airlines with running “sham” business operations conceived to circumvent city and RTA sales taxes. In a lawsuit filed against United last week, the RTA–a municipal corporation of government that oversees the Chicago area’s public transportation departments–claimed that the airline established shell offices in the town of Sycamore, Illinois, where it pays a total tax rate of 8 percent.
Opponents of development at Oberpfaffenhofen Airport, near Munich, Germany, were recently dealt a blow when a high court instead ruled in favor of increased general aviation activity. At issue were noise complaints from neighbors of the field, which has allowed general aviation traffic since 2008.
For the third year in a row, the Rockford (Ill.) Area Aerospace Network (Booth No. 2930) is attending the NBAA Convention to demonstrate the region’s continuing growth as an aviation manufacturing hub.
When President Obama criticized tax breaks for owners of corporate jets during the first debate with contender Mitt Romney on October 3, the reaction from the business aviation community was swift. Obama was referring to the allowable accelerated depreciation for capital goods, which ironically is part of a bill that he signed in 2010, HR 4853, the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance and Job Creation Act.
Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) president and CEO Marion Blakey said she jumped out of her chair this week when she heard President Obama say, during the final televised debate between U.S. presidential candidates, that sequestration “will not happen.” She said that the AIA is calling on the Obama Administration and Congress to start
Virtually every industry and profession in America enjoys the backing of an association and its lobbyists. And it doesn’t matter whether those lobbyists represent funeral directors, textile manufacturers, dairy farmers or dental consultants.
NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen, JSSI chairman Lou Seno and former Cessna chief Jack Pelton separately weighed in on President Obama’s remarks about “corporate jets” during the televised presidential debate last week. “Why wouldn’t we eliminate tax breaks for corporate jets?” Obama asked. “My attitude is if you got a corporate jet, you can probably afford to pay full freight, not get a special break for it.”
While pilots using Chicago Waukegan Airport await news of when the airport’s 6,000-foot Runway 5/23 might be extended to 7,000 feet–a more comfortable length for jet operations–interagency conflicts could ultimately lead to a reduction of the runway’s usable length.