Friday, August 8, 2008

Can we learn from the experience of others

The comment below was posted to The Oil Drum (see link in the column to
the right).

When thinking about the proposal to dump nearly $5 million into
expanding Salem's airport (including making the runway longer), you have
to wonder whether Salem's leadership able to learn from the experience
of others — or are we condemned to repeat others' mistakes, even after
explicit warning?

A brief note on demand destruction and infrastructure....

Our family flew from Tokyo/Narita Airport for summer vacation on July
27. The airport has always been PACKED at this time, peak travel season
(schools get out around July 21 here).

This summer there were no long lines, no crowds, no waiting to get into
restaurants. Lots of room to move, actually pleasant in a way.

Then I started thinking about the huge amounts of cement poured, now
investments with no or low returns, what happens when the thing gets
really empty, then abandoned? It is huge and it is not the only one.

I read that airline ticket sales to Europe and N. America from Japan
were down 40% this summer because of the fuel prices making tickets too
expensive. At the airport, that 40% quote felt like it was on target.