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Say it isn't so. After wasting $57 million on a gaudy showpiece airport that has 10 fewer gates than the terminals it replaced, airport officials suddenly realize they need more gates, and propose to spend $7 million extra to build three more.

Perhaps they think a $57 million airport isn't impressive enough -- but if we had a $64 million airport, then all of the steel mills would come back.

When will our leaders recognize our region is in decline? We can't afford tens of millions of dollars apiece to spruce up our airport or Rich Stadium, or to build Marine Midland Arena. Projects like these surely don't reflect a shrinking region's real needs. Perhaps they're our way of kidding ourselves that theNiagara Frontier is still whatit once was. But how much self-deception can we afford?

Instead of pretending we're still a Top 10 metro area, we should start planning in earnest for a more realistic future -- a future in which Western New York is 65th or 70th among the country's regions. It's still a pleasant place to live, but far too small to have a major airport, a professional symphony orchestra or a major-league hockey or football team.

We can prepare for our future by resolving not to burden ourselves with any more white elephants-to-be.

Let's start by saying no to the people who impoverished this community by raising that arch-backed glass necropolis on Genesee Street and now want us to reopen our wallets so they can do more of the same.


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