October 28, 2010
By Dan Namowitz
When a bill establishing a trust fund to help maintain airports that do not receive federal funding comes before the New Hampshire legislature next year, AOPA will have played an important role in raising lawmakers’ awareness of the measure’s value to the state economy.
House Bill 1506, creating a state aeronautical fund, was referred to interim study on Oct. 21 and will come before the legislature again in 2011. Lawmakers taking it up then will have the benefit of an economic survey of the 12 mostly privately owned, public-use New Hampshire airports to help make the case for passage.
“The study was focused primarily on the economic benefit of these airports to their local communities and region. AOPA recruited an economist to demonstrate the economic benefit and intrinsic value of the airports in the study to their respective communities. AOPA will be pursuing this bill in the 2011 legislative session,” said Mark Kimberling, AOPA director of state government affairs.
State Rep. Frank V. Sapareto spoke on behalf of HB 1506 for the New Hampshire House Ways and Means Committee. “The state has assisted many of these in the past with the understanding that they will be opened to the public and will remain open for 10 years after the state has given aid for some field maintenance projects,” he said. Annual funding is estimated at $269,000.
Kimberling thanked AOPA members for contributing to the process by writing and calling their legislators before the recent committee action. AOPA also appreciates the work of the study’s author, Dr. Jon Lane Smith, director of East Tennessee State University’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research, who volunteered his expertise for this project. Smith also holds a commercial pilot certificate and is rated in both fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft
Dan Namowitz is an aviation writer and flight instructor. He has been a pilot since 1985 and an instructor since 1990.
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