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Columbia, South Carolina
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August 21, 2003     The Columbia Star
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MBI A STAR " SC Jim Hamilton iation funds need to be increased big busi- of SC. In monetary $1.2 m gen- 6O of these SCheduled - other 54 air - $948 r the and air- rail - money On ,100 report to air- ,400 peo- whose to aviation. per day attributa- the state. each (air- in the aircraft to the 2,800 air- off airports. aot all .aircraft of COmpo- is Each POUnds of out of 700 SC. 3s- Would an impor. 'aviation Re deliv- 700 on air- aUrnbers show of avia- well roles in s. Most to But a It is from Services flight ship and on demand air charter. The airports of the state have seven basic eco- nomic roles which they promote. 1. The first would be direct aviation activ- ity. This is the act of pro- riding aviation services to the local community which creates jobs, payroll, and purchases. 2. Tourism and visi- tors. Nearly 2.1 millions people arrive by either the airlines or private aircraft who are visitors to SC. They spend an estimated $453 million in SC. 3. Transportation efficiency. Many business- es and people use aviation for trips since the total cost and times saved can be less than alternative modes of travel. This applies to trips which might involve an overnight stay and trips that take less than a business com- munity. In fact, many pri- vate business firms are dependent on either the airlines or corporate air- craft to fly employees and clients on trips. Without access to airports, both large and small, these firms would be at a com- petitive disadvantage and might relocate elsewhere. 4. Emergency transportation. This includes transportation of the sick and injured, med- ical shipments of serums, and organ transplants. It is difficult to place a value on services such as these. All of the airports in the state are involved in this trans- portation service. 5. Aid SC in its abil- ity to compete with other states for econom- ic development. The availability of aviation has become an important factor in the site selection process. To many major corporations, proximity to a commercial service air- port or general aviation airport is equally impor- tant and essential for selecting a new location. For this reason, it is impor- tant the state have an ade- quate number of well maintained general avia- tion airports. They provide convenient access for air travel and delivery of goods necessary for businesses in SC. While the six major air carrier airports are well equipped and maintained through revenues which they obtain from passen- gers and air craft carriers, the general aviation air- ports of the state are not as fortunate. The SC Division of Aeronautics estimates it would take $100 million over the next ten years to bring the state's general aviation air- ports up to current safety and operational standards. SC spends less on its air- ports than any other state in the Southeast. For example, Florida spent $83 million in 1998, Georgia $38 million, North Carolina $11 million, Tennessee $9 million, and Virginia $7 million. By comparison, in 1998 SC issued $1.6 million in state grants to general aviation airports. 6. Providing a link with the national air transportation system. In the past SC has used bonds to pay for airport capital involvements and maintenance projects. This has provided several mil- lion dollars every few years. However, the future does seem brighter for increased funding. 7. Federal match- ing funds. This past leg- islative session H.B. 4775 section 27 ag. was passed. This provides $500,000 in recurring, dedicated air- port maintenance and capi- tal improvement funding for the state's airports. The importance of this cannot be over emphasized. This money is actually worth $4.5 million to the state's airports due to the federal matching funds which can be obtained for airport projects. This is money which goes directly into the local and state economy. This is an excellent start to improve and develop better and safer aviation in SC. But we have a long way to go. During the next legisla- tive session, the funding needs to be increased. In this manner, when com- bined with the federal matching funds, SC can develop an aviation system equal to any in the Southeast: We may not agree with everything owr writers say, but we will always 00lefeml their right to say it. rv AUGUST 21 . 2003 * 3 Zt's not a rltldstn; lit's on observation By Mike Cox What happened to respect for human life? A man kills his ex-girlfriend in front of her children. A college basket- ball player pumps several bullets into a teammates' head. Gang violence and drug-related shootings dominate the local news. Columbia, like the rest of the country, has a problem with gun vio- lence. Everyone agrees something ter- rible is going on. The solution is being debated. As you might expect in a polit- ical argument, both sides of the gun control issue are more interested in winning the argument than in solving the problem. The NRA compares anti-gun groups to Nazis and argues against all gun control legislation. Their rhetoric is familiar. Guns don't kill people; peo- ple do. Our forefathers built this coun- try with guns. They are guaranteed in the Second Amendment. "From my cold dead hands." Gun rights advocates use statis- tics to prove the relative safety of guns. They also claim having a gun reduces crime and gun control doesn't work. The anti-gun lobby also loves sta- tistics. A favorite is a study done by two doctors in Seattle in 1986. According to Drs. Kellerman and Reay, 43 times out of 44, a gun owner will be killed rather than his intruder. The methodology proved to be flawed, but the ratio is still quoted today. Gun control advocates also like to use stats comparing US gun deaths with those of other countries. The dif- ference is alarming when our country is compared to Great Britain, Japan, or Sweden. South Africa, which rivals America in gun deaths, is never men- tioned in these studies. As both sides fight for victory, the body count rises. More 15-24 year olds die from gunshot than from any other cause. Every age group under 25 lists guns as a top five cause of death. Why? Can't every sane person realize easy access to guns, esspecially cheap han.dguns, contributes to this Mike Cox problem? At the same time, do we not realize love of violence is much more rampant than love of guns? z' I was raised in a family where gun ownership was accepted: I was hunting with my dad before I started going to school. I also learned gun safety at this early age. A gun was only a tool, but a dangerous one. It had to be respected. The most meaningful Christmas gift t ever received was a shotgun. My dad got it for me when I showed an interest in hunting as a teenager. To this day, I don't know where he found the money to buy it. It is the one thing I own I would never consider relin- quishing even though it hasn't been fired in nearly 20 years. Friends who grew up gun free are terrified of the very idea. They believe a firearm is capable of killing someone just by residing in the house. Like elec- tricity, poisonous snakes, and haz- ardous waste, guns are too dangerous for polite company. Gun control has no easy answer. Maybe we're asking the wrong questions. HOW can a college athlete look a teammate in the eye and pull the trigger? How can a man kill some- bne he shared intimacy with while her kids scream in terror? why will a car- load of young men spray hundreds of bullets indiscriminately, then talk about honor and respect? Taking another life is the most horrible act a human can commit. Yet a growing number of people are willing to do it without a second thought. If the NRA and the Brady Bunch can resolve this issue, the gun problem goes away. Introducing l)OC by Chuck Mikell The Columbia Star welcomes the cartoons of Chuck Mikell which will be in The Star each week in this spot. bOC ,, IIII IJl IIII III)L,I.. ............ . " , _I _ r "- _  i 4 l