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THURSDAY, OCTOBER 20, 2005
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EDITORIAL

Cramer's long-term plan for airport tower pays off

U.S. Rep. Bud Cramer's willingness to decline a federal offer to renovate Huntsville International Airport's control tower raised some eyebrows locally.

But the political risk associated with rejecting Federal Aviation Administration funds and instead going for a Congressional appropriation will pay huge dividends as the airport completes construction of a completely new — and fully financed — $20.7 million tower.

Mr. Cramer says it took several conversations with local airport officials to convince them to reject funding for a desperately needed renovation of the existing 96-foot tower.

"We had to talk to (airport employees) a few times," Mr. Cramer said. "We had to explain that we thought this would end up being better."

Construction on the new, 219-foot tower began Monday with Mr. Cramer and other officials turning over the first shovels full of dirt in a groundbreaking ceremony.

The existing tower does not provide line-of-sight observation of the airport's existing runways. The new tower will provide line-of-sight observation of existing runways as well as those in the airport's 20-year master plan.

Mr. Cramer knows that investment in infrastructure creates economic development. And the airport is arguably one of the most important factors in North Alabama economic development.

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