November 12, 2009
By Sarah Brown
AOPA President Craig Fuller with Martin O’Malley, governor of AOPA’s home state, Maryland.
AOPA President Craig Fuller met with a group of Democratic governors Nov. 9 in Philadelphia to encourage the leaders to invest in their states’ aviation infrastructure.
The governors came together from as far west as Montana and as far east as New Hampshire to discuss critical infrastructure investment, the importance of small airports, and the role of states in supporting the national air transportation system.
“The airports that dot the countryside from coast to coast in America are not just isolated fields,” Fuller said, explaining afterward why he reached out to governors to help support general aviation. “Each one is part of a national network, and together they add up to the world’s best aviation system. By investing in airports and other aviation infrastructure at the state level, governors can do their part to make sure the air transportation system continues to serve Americans in communities of all sizes in their states and beyond.”
While many airports receive grants from the federal government for maintenance and infrastructure improvements, states play an important role in matching those grants and making their own investments. Pennsylvania Gov. Edward G. Rendell, who participated in the forum, said that he is committed to investing in his state’s GA assets.
“General aviation airports are a vital component of Pennsylvania’s transportation infrastructure,” Rendell said after the discussion. “These important assets help attract new business and create jobs. We will continue to make smart infrastructure investments necessary to increase economic vitality and facilitate the more than $12 billion in state revenue the aviation industry yields each year. By investing in our aviation assets we can help sustain our communities and retain jobs across Pennsylvania.”
Investing in GA helps ensure people in all parts of the country have access to an airport and the services it provides. Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, who also participated in the discussion, said GA airports are an important asset to his state.
“Maryland’s general aviation airports provide convenient, efficient access to the world for our residents and businesses,” O’Malley said. “Our citizens depend on those airports for the facilities they provide for public safety, Medevac flights, point-to-point personal transportation, and greater economic opportunity directly to their community.”
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