LoBiondo: Getting honored no matter what

February 7, 2013

President Obama and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie at Atlantic City International Airport. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)

So Airports Council International — North America, a trade group that represents local, regional and state-run airports in this country and Canada, moved quickly after veteran Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.) became head of the House Transportation and Infrastructure’s subcommittee on aviation Jan. 16.

The group, which styles itself “The Voice of Airports,” announced two weeks later that it would be honoring LoBiondo — who had yet to chair a hearing this year — “with the 2013 Commissioners Congressional Leadership Award for his ongoing support of the aviation industry and airports.”

A Jan. 30 news release said that one reason for the award, to be presented at a March 20 reception, was that LoBiondo “has been an unwavering supporter of airport issues including his steadfast support to raise the Passenger Facility Charge (PFC).” That’s the charge, now limited to $4.50 on your ticket, that pays for airport maintenance and capital improvements.

One small problem. Someone noticed that LoBiondo apparently is not so “steadfast” for boosting the fee, having voted against doing so in 1999, we’re told.

ACI-NA spokesperson Morgan Dye said the problem was that an “early draft” of the release was “mistakenly posted” before final edit.

Okay, no big deal. The group quickly issued a corrected news release that same day, deleting the PFC reference and noting instead that LoBiondo has “been a strong supporter of the aviation industry and infrastructure,” including at his local airport in Atlantic City.

Party’s still on for March 20.

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993.
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