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Green Airport?

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A couple of stuffed suits from the airport showed up at council last night to crow about how great the place is, making much of the airport's regular top honours for "passenger satisfaction for airports with under five million passengers." But that says more about the hardy, stoic nature of Maritimers, who make up the bulk of passengers, than any stellar performance by the airport: close a runway for a summer, tear up the parking lots, delay every third flight due to weather, no problem---Nova Scotians will shrug off the hassle and check the "happy, happy" box on the survey form. You can bet that, say, visiting New Yorkers have a different view of getting storm delayed, but they're drowned out by a sea of buck-up locals.

But what most annoyed me about the presentation was the claim that putting a Metro Transit route out to the airport will be "green for the environment." The Coast has pushed for an airport bus for years, but now that the powers that be are finally getting around to it, they're designing a bus route that will travel in as circuitous and time-consuming fashion as possible, so as not to compete with the privately owned Airporter bus. The new bus isn't intended for time-strapped travellers, but rather for employees who can't afford the high cost of driving a gazillion miles back and forth to work every day---in other words, the bus will serve as a subsidy for airport businesses, allowing them to keep wages at piss-poor levels and still have workers. If those workers have to sit on the bus an extra unpaid hour a day, no one cares, evidently.

Regardless, let's be clear: there's nothing at all green about the airport. Air travel to and from Halifax is responsible for a climate change effect roughly equivalent to all the automobile travel in the entire province of Nova Scotia. Providing bus service to the place might serve some useful social function, but it doesn't "green" anything.

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