Ileana Ros-Lehtinen announced the U.S. Air Force doesn't support having the Miami International Aerospace Show at the Homestead base

Dec 16, 2011 Issues: Defense Abroad, Economy

By Lisa Orkin Emmanuel
NBC

The Air Force has refused to host an international commercial air show at Homestead Air Reserve base.
Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said in a statement that  U.S. Air Force Secretary Michael B. Donley informed her the Air Force won't support having the Miami International Aerospace Show at the Homestead base. The show had been scheduled for November 2012.

The reasons he cited were: that "the Air Force has a longstanding policy of not supporting commercial events using their facilities," the statement said. "If the Air Force agrees to the MIAS it will be required to open up all their facilities to the same access for other entities," Ros-Lehtinen said in a statement.

She said she was also informed that Donley didn't find any "internal support in the Air Force for this concept."

Meanwhile, Frank Nero, president of the Beacon Council, which acts as the county's economic development arm,  told The Miami Herald  he was "dumfounded" by the decision.

"“I think this why people are so upset with the federal government,” Nero told the paper. “They just don’t get it. I’m always taken aback when the federal government acts as if they are in a community but not of a community."

The new show would've targeted aerospace manufacturers and buyers, the Herald reported.

"To say that I was very disappointed would be an understatement," Ros-Lehtinen said. County Commissioner Lynda Bell said the event would've created jobs.

"This critically important event was estimated to create thousands of full-time and part-time jobs, a much-needed opportunity for the residents District 8 and Miami-Dade County," Bell said in a statement.
She said the event was estimated to have a direct economic impact of $250 million and $350 million along with increased visitors and infrastructure upgrades.

A prior request was denied in August and then Ros-Lehtinen tried to get the U.S. Air Force to allow the show at the base.

The Miami-Dade County Commission had come up with more than $7 million to help make improvements to the Air Force base before the show as an incentive.

The Herald reports Ros-Lehtinen's office said she will send Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta a letter about the situation.