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March 11, 2009
By Alton K. Marsh
Washington State is getting ready to finalize its long-term air transportation study (LATS). While much of the draft includes initiatives that would be of real benefit to the state’s general aviation community, there are a few proposals that concern AOPA.
Pilots have one last chance to weigh in—written comments are due by April 17. There are also two public hearings scheduled, one on March 24 in Olympia, and the second on March 26 in Spokane. Additional information and the proposed strategies can be found online).
AOPA will be commenting on the draft study and is asking its members to go to the Web site and submit their own comments and concerns to the Washington State Department of Transportation. Members who live near one of the two public hearing locations should consider attending the hearing to present their concerns.
One potential red flag for AOPA is the way the state plans to handle capacity problems at the larger airports. The association wants the state to ensure that general aviation has the same access as other system users and is concerned that methods under consideration could adversely affect general aviation. AOPA also has questions about how the proposed strategies will be funded.
AOPA has monitored the LATS program closely and worked with both the Washington State Department of Transportation and the Washington Pilots Association to make AOPA members aware of the studies and provide comments. AOPA is reviewing the final phase of the plan and will submit comments to the aviation planning council.
Over the years, AOPA has emphasized to the Washington State Department of Transportation Aviation Division the need for the state to play an active role in protecting and preserving airports. AOPA hopes that by conducting this study the department will put in place strategies to address the association’s concerns.
Department of Transportation,
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AOPA thanks our members for their continued support in protecting the freedom to fly.