March 19, 2009
By Thomas A. Horne
Airports are vital staging grounds for disaster relief but can also be casualties of these catastrophes. Quickly repairing this vital infrastructure is often beyond the resources of an individual state.
Bearing in mind the disaster relief requirements highlighted by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the Mississippi state legislature passed a bill (H.B. 625) that authorizes Mississippi airport authorities to provide emergency assistance to airports anywhere in the United States in the event of a disaster.
With AOPA’s support, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour signed the bill into law this week. State airport authorities may now come to the aid of another airport upon declaration of an emergency by federal, state, or local authorities, and contribute up to $20,000 in assistance.
In addition to the advocacy efforts by Southeast Regional Representative Bob Minter throughout the legislative process, AOPA President Craig Fuller sent a letter to Barbour urging him to sign the bill when it reached his desk.
AOPA Pilot Editor at Large Tom Horne has worked at AOPA since the early 1980s. He began flying in 1975 and has an airline transport pilot and flight instructor certificates. He’s flown everything from ultralights to Gulfstreams and ferried numerous piston airplanes across the Atlantic.
A touch of history, affordable flying, unique sightseeing, a good meal, and a community of pilots: Isn’t that what general aviation is all about?
Getting the job done on the local and national levels requires long-term planning, a hands-on approach, and keeping the effort moving, said Sean Collins, AOPA’s Eastern regional manager.
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