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.
Advocacy and Legislation,
FAA Financial and Regulatory
AOPA is asking the FAA to withdraw a proposed airworthiness directive that could affect thousands of ECi cylinders.
AOPA is looking to the Michigan Senate for “refinement” of proposals amended unfavorably in last-minute House action.
The General Aviation Pilot Protection Act would allow pilots to use the driver’s license medical standard for noncommercial VFR flights in aircraft weighing up to 6,000 pounds with no more than six seats, as long as they carry fewer than five passengers, fly below 14,000 feet msl, and fly no faster than 250 knots.
AOPA thanks our members for their continued support in protecting the freedom to fly.