August 29, 2012
By Dan Namowitz
Public-use airports in Oregon will benefit from more than $7.25 million in funding for projects approved by the state’s Transportation Commission under the ConnectOregon IV program.
The initiatives at 15 airports were on a list of 38 projects with a total price tag of $40 million to be funded by lottery-backed bonds. The ConnectOregon program’s goal is to improve connections between the Oregon highway system and the state’s other modes of transportation.
The Oregon Transportation Commission issued its list of approved programs Aug. 16. Funds were distributed among air, marine, rail, transit, and other multimodal projects across the state. A program provision requires that no less than 10 percent of ConnectOregon IV funds be allocated to each of five regions, provided qualified projects are under consideration in a region.
The application process included review and ranking of projects by several volunteer committees, with recommendations issued to the Oregon Transportation Commission by a final review committee, said David Ulane, AOPA northwest mountain regional manager. The commission issued its final list of projects following a public hearing in July, he said.
In a June 4 letter, AOPA urged the transportation commission to fund projects that benefit aviation in the state.
“As the Commission is certainly aware, the Oregon Department of Aviation’s 2007 Aviation Plan notes that airports in the state (exclusive of Portland International) create over $19 billion of economic impact for the state and its residents,” Ulane wrote. “Clearly, that impact would be far less significant without airport infrastructure investments made possible by programs like ConnectOregon.”
Ulane credited AOPA Airport Support Network Volunteer Hobbs Magaret, manager of the Sisters Eagle Airport, for recognizing the potential value of the program for aviation in Oregon and rallying support. Sisters Eagle will receive approximately $600,000 for infrastructure improvements in the current allocation of program funds.
“AOPA will continue to support state initiatives and legislation that protect, promote, and improve the state’s aviation system,” Ulane said.
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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