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Congress Keeps Funding Little-Used Airports

While federal agencies brace for what might soon be $85 billion in automatic budget cuts, tax dollars are continuing to support tiny airports across the nation, some of which are virtually empty.

There are hundreds of small airports that receive federal funding, with at least 80 that are vacant of planes and passengers, according to The Washington Post.

One example is Lake Murray State Park Airport in Oklahoma, recipient of $150,000 annually from Washington. The airport consists of a field with no landing lights, no electricity, no control tower, and no people to operate it. There is, on average, one landing and takeoff a week, and often is used by passing private planes whose pilots need to use the bathroom.

“This is a direct gift from your congressman and senators,” Victor Bird, director of the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission, which handles the money the government allots for Lake Murray, told the Post. “Everybody’s going to get something here, and we’re going to take some.”

The airport has received about $1 million in entitlement funds since 2001, in addition to $184,000 in grants from the Federal Aviation Administration, and another $600,000 in the bank.


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