The first major economic policy issue of the 2013 Albuquerque Mayoral election has been broached by candidate Pete Dinelli. According to media reports, Dinelli wants to spend $300 million to expand the Sunport. I’m almost thinking that, based on Dinelli’s own statements, he’s not really serious about the issue as he states in the same article “Construction wouldn’t begin until a major air-related company agreed to expand operations in Albuquerque.”
OK. Well, who are these air-related companies that are expanding? Is anybody seriously looking at building some kind of hub in Albuquerque? If they were, that could be a real boon for the area economy and expanding the airport might make sense, but UPS and FEDEX are struggling right now due to the poor economy. And, of course, Frontier Airlines has announced that it will be pulling out of the Sunport.
I think the Sunport is one of the best things any government in New Mexico does. It is beautiful (as airports go) and functional. I’d love to have more direct flights and more international flights in and out of the airport. You know how we do that? We grow not only the local, but the state economy as a whole. Unfortunately, local governments have limited capacity to change the bedrock economic and educational policies that the Legislature in Santa Fe deals with.
So, perhaps Dinelli is running for the wrong office? He should go to the Legislature and advocate for Right to Work, reduced regulations, tax reform, and an education system that works….then we’ll have a reason to expand the Sunport.