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FAA invested $3 million in barely used airfield

A $3 million investment at Hastings airfield outside Syracuse has failed to take flight.
via Flickr
A $3 million investment at Hastings airfield outside Syracuse has failed to take flight.

An airport in Oswego County is a "financial black hole," according to Dave Tobin at the Post-Standard.  The federal government invested $3 million in a project to revitalize a suburban airport in Syracuse, but now the field is at risk of foreclosure:

The FAA is not trying to recover money — it’s fighting to keep the Hastings airfield an airfield if it’s sold, said William Pease, chief of the U.S. attorney’s civil division. [Project lender] First Niagara wants its money and wants to sell the land for any use. The company paid about $1.1 million for the properties. What did the FAA get for its $3 million? It replaced a half-mile of cracked, weed-infested pavement with a half-mile of new pavement 60 feet wide — 15 feet wider than before. The airfield has new drainage, small runway lights, a tractor to remove snow and mow the grass and a small trailer to serve as an office. The prior airport’s old hangar and office with blistered paint remain. The driveway from the road is muddy and rutted. Even after all this, the FAA won’t reveal its plans for more funding for the airstrip, which was once authorized for $10.8 million. “We’re not saying,” said Jim Peters, an FAA spokesman.

Tobin's story is a great piece of watchdog journalism, and definitely worth a read - and the photos of a desolate airfield, right in our own backyard, are great too.

“Dying industries”

A research firm has crunched the numbers to come up with a list of "dying industries," reports Phil Izzo at the Wall Street Journal's Real Time Economics blog.  Biggest losers over the past decade:

  • Apparel manufacturing (77 percent decline)
  • Record stores (76 percent decline)
  • Manufactured home dealers (73 percent decline)

And the biggested predicted declines over the next five years:

  • Manufactured home dealers (62 percent decline)
  • Record stores (39 percent)
  • Photofinishing (39 percent)

But, as ever, take predictions of dying with a grain of salt.

Building excellence

Syracuse's Center of Excellence, which serves as an incubator for green building technologies, is being held up in Bloomberg as an example of revolutionarily efficient design.  James Russell writes:

Even if oil-patch political unrest settles down, the long- term price trend is upward, given the rapid growth of consumption in China and India. Once the U.S. recovery builds some steam, those prices are likely to spurt up further because America’s five percent of the world’s population consumes almost one fourth of the world’s oil output. Inflating oil costs could stymie growth. Energy use need not grow in lockstep with the economy. [Architect Toshiko] Mori designed the building to consume less than half the energy conventional American labs use simply by carefully uniting cost- effective technologies that already exist.

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