By Paul Gable
Approximately 10 years ago, the Myrtle Beach International Airport bought eight trucks with attachable snow plow blades with a grant from the Federal Aviation Administration.
The airport really didn’t want snowplows. It wanted trucks to use in maintenance around the airport and it wanted a maintenance building, built with another FAA grant, in which the trucks and other things would be stored.
The snow plow grant was approximately $300,000 and the grant for the maintenance building was approximately $1 million.
With the snow plow grant application were pictures of the all-time record setting December 1989 snowfall in Myrtle Beach. It couldn’t use more recent pictures because there was no snowfall between 1989 and 2003 that would have required snow plows at the airport.
Using the trucks for maintenance was not allowed by the FAA because local airport money has to be used for routine maintenance equipment.
However, the airport did get approximately $1.3 million in the two taxpayer funded federal grants for snow plows it didn’t need and a building it should have paid for itself. This is one small example of why the federal budget and its deficit are so large.
According to information received from county officials, the snow plows have not been used in the intervening 10 years.
Last night’s ice storm may have been reason to at least get the snow plows out of storage but most flights into and out of Myrtle Beach International Airport were cancelled anyway.
It would seem that nobody at the FAA ever considered if Myrtle Beach International Airport gets enough snow to use the snow plows, at least most of the airports on the other end of the flights have similar storm problems and most flights will be cancelled.
In addition, even if we get another snow storm the size of 1989 and the airport runway gets cleared and flights actually get here, the county still has to decide how to get passengers into and out of the airport because the county has no snow plows for roads.
Just another example of your federal tax dollars at work!