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Sorry, Kansas City: FAA Training Facility Will Stay in Palm Coast–For Now

| March 9, 2012

With such fantastic swales framing its Palm Coast facility, why would the FAA look anywhere else? (© FlaglerLive)

The puns were burning the plains in the Kansas City press Friday: “Kansas City’s effort to land a lucrative Federal Aviation Administration training center in the historic Lyric Theatre building crashed Friday when a Florida congressman blocked a plan to move the center out of his district for the foreseeable future,” wrote the Kansas City Star (Ernest Hemingway’s old paper). “A Florida congressman said Friday that the Federal Aviation Administration’s attempts to relocate one of its training facilities to Kansas City’s Lyric Theatre have stalled,” wrote the more hopeful Kansas City Business Journal–which broke the story of Kansas City’s courtship of the facility last November.

Earlier in the day, John Mica, the Republican congressman clocking his last seven months as Flagler County’s representative (he’s running in a different district this year), issued the following statement: “The FAA’s training facility will remain in Palm Coast for the foreseeable future, and due to language included in the new FAA law I introduced in the House, Palm Coast will always have a fair shot at future contracts. In addition, FAA officials informed us this morning that the agency will continue to operate the facility in Palm Coast while officials reconsider their training needs and budgetary realities.”

The facility in question is the FAA Center for Management and Executive Leadership, a revolving door of trainees that brings hundreds of people through town, though most stay at the facility itself (“Your linens and towels, as well as housekeeping services, are provided on a daily basis,” an FAA brochure informs). The facility also issues its own meal tickets for use at its Horizon Cafe.

The FAA was considering moving the facility without offering Palm Coast the opportunity to compete to retain the training contract, a release from Mica’s office read. With the passage of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, the FAA is abandoning its effort to move the facility in the near future. As agency officials reevaluate the training needs and budgetary constraints, they will be required to consider all appropriate bidders.

“This paves the way for Palm Coast to fairly compete against other locations the FAA might consider” Mica added. “Given the ideal location of the facility and professionalism of the employees at Palm Coast, I am confident Palm Coast will have the edge in any future bids.”

Sen. Bill Nelson, the Democrat, who’s also seeking reelection, added a plug of his own: “These days any news about keeping jobs is welcome news,” he said. “Hopefully, the facility will stay in Palm Coast.”

Palm Coast’s preservation (for now) is Kansas City’s loss: the city’s downtown is hurting for business and jobs. It’s also ironic: While politicians in Kansas City and Palm Coast, or Florida, Mica included, compulsively criticize “big government” to curry favor with voters, they did not hesitate to pull all the stops to lure or preserve government jobs that they very well might have happily derided had they been in a different state. The training center has between 80 and 100 jobs on the federal payroll.

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11 Responses for “Sorry, Kansas City: FAA Training Facility Will Stay in Palm Coast–For Now”

  1. Justice for All says:

    How perverse.

  2. Kendall says:

    Good point Flagler Live.

  3. Yippee! So very grateful! Thanks for sharing the good news!

  4. palmcoaster says:

    My appreciation to both our Republican Congressman John Mica Chairman of the Federal Transportation Committee and to our Democrat Senator Bill Nelson for his involvement as well.
    This shows that parties can work together to benefit their constituents. Hope the others in Washington follow this example.

  5. elaygee says:

    This is the REAL problem with goverment, politicians pressuring civil servants to to what they want despite the fact that it makes no sense. A Federal Aviation Administration facility NOT near a major airport, NOT near any airport that FAA employees and people from around the world can easily and cheaply get to, etc…. makes no sense.

  6. Layla says:

    Amazes me here how many do NOT support either Palm Coast or this country. We have quite a few airports in the area, elaygee. It isn’t as if we are situated in the middle of a desert with no transportation in and out.

  7. palmcoaster says:

    @elaygee. The major airport requested by the FAA is to be at 25 miles distance of the training facility and Daytona Beach International is only about 5 miles farther away only. Realistically does not make any difference as far is concerned distance and … we need those jobs here. Makes a lot of sense on a county with 16.5% plus unemployment. We can’t afford to be short sighted in this long term negative implication issue, if we were to loose the FAA Training Facility in Palm Coast.

  8. Justice for All says:

    FAA wants training facility within 75 miles of an international airport, you remember, to better train and prepare for our next terrorist attack…..Hey, but we need the jobs, right?

  9. Nancy N. says:

    While of course it is nice to not lose jobs in Palm Coast from the center, nobody who is being objective can possibly claim that this area is convenient to a major airport. Anyone who lives here who flies regularly knows that. Daytona’s airport is virtually useless because it has almost no flights. The next closest airport is Jacksonville an hour away and it’s of limited usefulness because to get there from almost everywhere you have to go through a hub like Atlanta. For a decent flight selection, and any hope of going direct to your destination, you have to go to Orlando – 100 minute or so drive from here.

  10. palmcoaster says:

    I never go to Orlando madhouse…since I known Jacksonville Airport straight up I95 North and about two miles off 95.. No crowds and tourist, no TSA harrasment but fair treatment, no rail ride to the gates, easier traffic to deal to get there and no tolls..Try it net time! What an improvement from Orlando.

    • Nancy N. says:

      I used to fly exclusively out of Jacksonville. I love everything about it except the selection of flights. As I have started needing to fly more for business I’ve had to shift to Orlando to get direct flights to the destinations that I go to. I can’t get anywhere from Jacksonville it seems without having to change in Atlanta and after one too many sprints through Hartsfield airport to barely catch a flight because my incoming flight was delayed, I decided it was easier to deal with Orlando than to change planes. I also go to Orlando so I can fly Virgin America…well worth the trip to travel an airline that treats its customers like valued guests instead of cargo.

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