February 14, 2009
By Warren D. Morningstar
Congress sent President Barack Obama a $787 billion economic stimulus package on Feb. 14. President Obama signed the bill in Denver Feb. 17. The compromise bill between the House and the Senate includes $1.1 billion extra for airports.
“Economic stimulus money for general aviation was an absolute priority for us when we started working with the Obama administration after the election,” said AOPA President Craig Fuller. “Investments in GA airports will create jobs immediately and improve our transportation infrastructure.”
The additional money for Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funds will be available, at the FAA’s discretion, to any airport with a project ready for construction within 120 days of the grant application. Regular AIP grants are distributed by formula, with the bulk of the money going to air carrier airports.
AIP economic stimulus grants are also 100 percent federally funded, so states and municipalities don’t have to come up with matching funds to get the money.
“That’s very important now as local governments are struggling to meet their budgets,” said Fuller. “GA airports could apply for these grants to install lights and other projects to support new WAAS approaches, improving their safety and utility, and making the airports even more effective economic tools.”
AOPA had worked with Congress to ensure lawmakers understood the economic impact of GA on the national economy and the potential for economic stimulus by funding airport projects.
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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