Roger Marshall visits Garden City, tours airport

Meghan Flynn
Garden City Telegram
U.S. Senator Roger Marshall visited Garden City on Friday and toured the Garden City Regional Airport, which will soon begin a remodel.

U.S. Senator Roger Marshall (R-Kansas) visited Garden City on Friday.

During his visit, Marshall toured the Garden City Regional Airport, which received CARES Act funding in 2020 and will begin construction of a new terminal later this year.

Marshall said the new terminal is an incredible thing for southwest Kansas.

"1959 is when this terminal was built and Garden City's grown a lot since then and ... I think there's the opportunity for it to grow even more," he said.

The new terminal will be a great first impression to people visiting the Garden City area for the first time, Marshall said. First impressions are important in this world as businesses, corporations and their leaders need to visit places like Garden City. The updated facility will be a benefit to the area.

"Whether it's to help existing customers get in and out of Garden City and southwest Kansas just as easily whether it's Tyson or DFA folks coming in and out of here," he said. "It's going to help all those folks, but really it's going to help us be better connected to the rest of the world."

For example, the beef industry is big in Kansas and a lot of trade is being done with China, Marshall said, $35 billion in agriculture exports have gone to China in the past year and for a buyer from China coming to visit the meat packing plants, the new terminal is a good introduction to the area.

"It's very important for business," he said.

Marshall also discussed President Joe Biden's $2 trillion infrastructure plan.

It's a misnomer to call it an infrastructure plan, Marshall said. Only 5% of the bill will be used on what most Kansans consider infrastructure – roads and bridges.

"About $115 billion will be used on roads and bridges, but he's going to spend $170 billion on electric car chargers and another $300 billion on tax credit for purchasing electric cars," he said. "He's trying to destroy the oil and gas industry."

Marshall said his concern about the plan is it's going to drive up the cost of gasoline and people's electric bills.

"It's anything but an infrastructure bill, it's really a Green New Deal legislation on steroids," he said.

He does not agree with borrowing $2 trillion and then not using the money where it's needed most.

"If we were going to do an infrastructure bill it should be focused on roads, bridges, high speed internet, our water systems, our sewers, things like that," he said. "I think that's what the greatest needs are and what most Kansans think of as infrastructure."

The plan will have a huge negative impact on the state of Kansas, in particular to the state's oil and gas industry, Marshall said. Besides just borrowing money, Biden and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi want the plan increases taxes, not just corporate taxes and they wants to get rid of two tax benefits the oil and gas industry receive – the percentage depletion allowance and the intangible drilling cost allowance.

"They want to come after the oil and gas industry on taxes, but meanwhile the subsidies that wind energy gets are 17 times what the oil and gas industry is getting, and solar energy is getting 80 times the subsidy that the oil and gas industry is," he said. "Basically the whole gist of this bill is to drive up the cost of oil and gas and then supplement the other energy sources."

Marshall said he wants to leave the world cleaner, healthier and safer after he's gone, but at the same time the cost of energy needs to be affordable.

Currently the U.S. is at a 25-year low in carbon production and has decreased it's carbon production by 14% over the past 10 years, Marshall said. It's due to innovation and natural gas.

People can't focus on only one aspect of energy, Marshall said. If the cost of energy is drives up it's middle Americans and low-income Americans, those who live from paycheck-to-paycheck, who will bear the brunt of the impact.

Any major increase to the cost of electricity or gas will have a big impact on those living in rural America where people have to drive 30 miles or more to go to work or 60 miles to go to the doctor, Marshall said. The cost of living would be very expensive.

Balance needs to be found, Marshall said.

"We need some type of a balance, a common sense, that lets us keep moving in the direction we're going with a cleaner environment, but we can't make energy so affordable that our cost of living just becomes impossible," he said.

In response to the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine use being put on pause, Marshall said he's glad that's happening so they can find out if there are any more problems with it, but still encourages people to get vaccinated with either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

"They've been given to hundreds of millions of people without any serious complications," he said. "I think the vaccine is very safe, and if people have concerns about it, please talk to your physician or your pharmacist about it."