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"AOPA asks House to protect airport funding"



Wednesday, June 18, 2014

AOPA asks House to protect airport funding
By Elizabeth A Tennyson 
AOPA


General aviation airports rely on federal money, making it vitally important
that Congress maintain Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funding at least at
current levels, AOPA President Mark Baker testified before the House
aviation subcommittee.

During the June 18 hearing on airport financing, Baker told the panel that
the need is high for safety, expansion, improvement, and environmental
projects at general aviation airports. According to the FAA's most recent
National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems report to Congress, airport
infrastructure needs far exceed the funding available. From 2013 through
2017, the FAA estimates that airports will require some $42.5 billion to
meet all AIP-eligible infrastructure development demands. That's
significantly more than the roughly $3.35 billion annual allotment.

In addition, the availability of non-primary entitlement funds depends on
maintaining at least $3.2 billion in annual AIP funding. Non-primary
entitlement funds are available to GA airports and non-primary commercial
service airports listed in the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems
that show a demonstrated need for airfield development. GA airports that
qualify are eligible to receive up to $150,000, making the entitlement a
significant funding source for many small airports. 

"America's airports are the true backbone of aviation, and without a robust
airport network, aviation cannot grow," Baker told the panel.

The hearing was convened by Aviation Subcommittee Chairman Frank LoBiondo
(R-N.J.), who is also a member of the House General Aviation Caucus, to
consider how anticipated growth in air traffic will affect the physical
infrastructure of the nation's airports and to look at sources for financing
infrastructure needs.

In addition to Baker, the subcommittee heard from representatives of the
FAA, the Government Accountability Office, the American Association of
Airport Executives, Airlines for America, and Airports Council
International.

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