Brian McGrory’s April 18 Metro column “Soaring greed” alerts us to Liberty Mutual’s use of its corporate jets for nonbusiness travel, but this is the least of the bad news.
First, this class of aircraft scores highest for amount of fuel burned and carbon dioxide emitted per passenger-mile. What’s more, these aircraft are, astoundingly, exempt from Massachusetts sales tax. On top of that, the Massachusetts Port Authority proposes a 130,000 square foot increase in Hanscom Field hangar space to house and service high-end luxury jets.
Business jet owners and lobbyists argue that their use is essential and cost-effective for businesses to survive and prosper, and that therefore the Hanscom expansion would contribute to the nation’s economic health.
At what cost should we strive to maximize business growth and performance? At what level of environmental pollution do we draw the line and say: Your Gulfstream jet may boost your productivity and efficiency, but we humans are not going to survive much longer if we continue to pump carbon into the atmosphere at this rate?
Businesses are seduced by short-term fiscal returns, to the point of being blind to the dire long-term side effects of their tools. Massport should not be permitted to expand Hanscom facilities to accommodate more jets.