As expected, without so much as a raised eyebrow or discussion, Charlotte City Council members approved the purchase of $1,920,000.00 of "anti-freeze" also known as De-Icing fluid. Total spent of this "new" venture around $28 Million so far...
What really stumps Cedar it is the amount of spending that goes on without discussion during our City Council meetings. Not one Charlotte City Council member questioned the purchase of nearly 2 million dollars worth of what is basically nothing more than antifreeze.
No questions as why the airport ran out, no questions about the flights that were canceled, no questions as to why CDIA failed to understand the effect that a real winter storm would have on airport operations and what an adequate supply of de-icing fluid should be.
The View Of De-Icing Ops Cockpit Side before CDIA ran out.
Council member Warren Cooksey told the Charlotte Observer that he was surprised that the airport ran out. But he didn't question airport officials because "it was our first year doing it. We estimated as best we could."
Warren "Best We Could" Cooksey
Cedar Posts Take: Frankly, I need to take a breath after reading that statement.
Can you imagine Council Member Cooksey starting an airline, "sure we crashed a few planes, oh what the hell, it was our first time and did the best we could".
Note to Charlotte City Council: This is not SimCity .... or is it?
Aviation Director Jerry Orr told Council members that they "didn't run out they just ran low". In other words they had enough to do a couple of single engine airplanes just not enough to do a whole 767.
Jerry Orr likes to tell Charlotte City Council that the airport is self supporting, that the airlines pay for the costs via user fees and it doesn't cost taxpayers a dime. Well that is complete male bovine manure because you can bet that US Airways will pass every cent of the fees they pay directly on to passengers, who for the greater part are us, the taxpayers.
And if you think that is bad, wait to you read about the new departure lanes Uncle Jerry wants to add at CDIA.
We have three now, and it gets a little congested a couple times a day. So Uncle Jerry wants to build some more lanes. How many you ask?
Well since we have three elevated lanes at the terminal, how many would you add? One, maybe two additional lanes? How about three new lanes? That should do it, don't you think? But, Uncle Jerry wants to go big or go home. He's going to add five lanes for a grand total of eight elevated departure lanes.
Crazy? Sure is and that's why you recently wrote a check for $1.3 million to cover the design phase.
Don't worry you won't need to come up with the build costs until April when they expect to award a contract something around $50 million should cover it.
Note: Not only will the extra 5 lanes cost a large pile of millions, it will also require that the Queen Charlotte statue be removed. Over the last 20 years the Queen has stood between the parking deck and the terminal. Building Uncle Jerry's extra five lanes would mean Queen Charlotte would be in constant danger of being run over with traffic passing a less than six inches from the base of her column. Discussion during the November airport board meeting suggested moving her inside.
Update January 25, 2011: Susan Stabley with the Charlotte Business Journal made the calls to get the artist's thoughts on the change. Details are here.
Of course airport planning is not without its missteps, but hey it was our "first time".
Airport Planning Fail.
Don't worry we are going to fix it, next year we are going to build a bridge for the cars and buses.
You can read the "Local Paper" coverage of Jerry Orr and Waren Cooksey's fail here.