Saturday, October 25, 2008

Burnley Blows It (Again)

Just to refresh your memory, former Secretary of Transportation James Burnley and I have (as they say) “history”. I feel certain that he doesn’t remember me. I was just one of the little people in the room. But I remember him and what a bully he was.

It doesn’t look like he’s changed much. The National Journal Group held a “policy breakfast” about transportation at which Mr. Burnley was one of the guest speakers. Towards the end of the conference -- during the question and answer portion -- Mr. Burnely decided he’d like to blame the National Air Traffic Controllers Association for the FAA’s funding problems.

”Burnley chimed in that one major reason why the FAA's reauthorization has been held up is union efforts on behalf of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association.“

Unfortunately for him, another one of “the little people” from NATCA was in the room. Well, maybe not so little. It was Doug Church, Director of Communications for NATCA. The audience had a good laugh at Mr. Burnley’s expense when Doug “clarified” the facts for him.

"The controllers union is not holding up the current reauthorization, which is held up in the Senate," Church said. "This is a battle on the user-fee issues alone, and that was what both parties have said. We are leading the push for reauthorization, as National Journal was a recipient of many of our ad dollars promoting that fact."

I would have paid good money to have seen that look on Burnley’s face -- again.

As much fun as this all is, the subject matter is deadly serious. You need to keep this in mind as you go to the polls to vote. As I was searching for today’s story, I ran across this story in Traffic World. And it couldn’t have made the situation any plainer.

”James Burnley, a former DOT secretary under two Republican presidents who also has advised the McCain campaign...“

I didn’t know Mr. Burnley was advising the McCain campaign. I’m not surprised. I just didn’t know it.

”A McCain Department of Transportation, meanwhile, likely would look much like the last eight years under President Bush.

"I think a McCain DOT is going to be very similar to what we have now," said the U.S. Chamber's Kavinoky. "There has been speculation about Mary Peters staying on as DOT secretary. In that case I think you would see a lot of consistency between a Bush and a McCain administration." “

Now it’s your turn to say, “I’m not surprised“.

If you’re in transportation and you like how things have gone the last eight years -- McCain might be your guy. I said “thanks but no thanks”. I voted yesterday. I voted for Obama.

Don Brown
October 25, 2008

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