March 20, 2013
By Benet J. Wilson
A bill signed by New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez March 15 restores one of six sources of funding for the state’s aviation trust fund. The measure, Senate Bill 2, also now allows the funds to be used beyond just air service development programs.
One of the trust fund sources, a portion of the gross receipts tax from the general fund, was lost on June 30, 2012, after Senate Bill 219 failed after last year’s legislative session adjourned. Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez introduced SB 2 during this year’s session to restore the funding source and expand its use.
General aviation advocates, including AOPA Central Southwest Regional Manager Yasmina Platt, descended on state lawmakers on Valentine’s Day to urge legislators to pass SB 2. Platt, along with representatives from several other aviation entities and nonprofit organizations, explained the value of GA in New Mexico.
SB 2 restores funding to the New Mexico Department of Transportation’s Aviation Division back from July 1, 2013, through June 30, 2018. It also allows the state’s Department of Transportation to use the funds for “planning, program administration, construction, equipment, materials and maintenance of a system of airports, navigation aids and related facilities,” which will benefit general aviation airports.
AOPA worked with organizations including the New Mexico Municipal League, the New Mexico Airport Managers Association, and New Mexico Department of Transportation’s Aviation Division, on passage of SB 2.
Advocacy and Legislation,
FAA Financial and Regulatory,
Department of Transportation,
Pilot Skip Gibbs regularly uses his Bonanza A36 to bring medical volunteers and supplies to remote areas of Mexico. Just before sunset, Gibbs was flying to the historic city of El Fuerte in the state of Sinaloa where LIGA International Flying Doctors of Mercy has been doing good works since 1934.
The board of Pennsylvania’s Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority will wait 120 days before making a final decision to close Braden Airport, citing community concerns.
Sometimes in politics, the good news is that bad news won’t happen. Thanks to AOPA, antique aircraft collectors and aviation employers in Louisiana dodged legislative bullets that would have raised the costs of aircraft ownership or of doing business.