April 15, 2004
Apr. 15, 2004 - AOPA has warned Illinois legislative leaders that Gov. Rod Blagojevich's (D-Ill.) budget proposal for fiscal year 2005 could be disastrous for the state's aviation system. The proposal slashes spending in the aeronautics budget by 22% and cuts nearly half of the division's staff positions. And that, AOPA warns, could result in the state not being able to take full advantage of federal airport improvement funds and curtailing of state aviation safety programs.
In a letter to the president of the state senate and the speaker of the state house of representatives, AOPA Vice President of Regional Affairs Roger Cohen warned the dramatic cuts "stand to inhibit the state's safe growth and development of aviation and airports."
Cohen says the aeronautics division suffers disproportionately under the budget proposal. By comparison, Cohen points out, "The Highways Department would experience only a 2% reduction in staffing with minor funding cuts, while Rail receives increased [original emphasis] funding and loses only six staff positions."
Illinois is one of only eight states that are allowed to distribute federal airport improvement funds as part of the FAA's State Block Grant Program, giving the state a more active role in planning its airport system. "Adequate staffing is critical to this effort," wrote Cohen, "and any reduction in staffing could seriously jeopardize the state's ability to obtain FAA grants and the ability for Illinois to receive and leverage federal funds."
Illinois' aeronautics division also oversees an extensive pilot and flight instructor education and safety program, which will be hurt if the funding cuts go through.
As the cold weather chills AOPA’s Headquarters in Frederick, many of us are inside generating new resources for flying clubs.
In my house, every Friday night is “Movie Night.” While the movies are rarely educational (I don’t think I learned anything from the Lego Movie), we look forward to the weekly opportunity to spend time together. Why not use the same concept for your Flying Club (with the addition of education, of course)?
AOPA Flying Club Manager Kelby Ferwerda posted the following on the AOPA Flying Club Facebook Page: “Recently I’ve talked with quite a few Flying Clubs about maintaining social activity through the cold winter months. Some clubs host Holliday Parties, others have Potluck Movie Nights. What does your club do to keep members involved during the chilly months?”
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