March 20, 2013
By Benét 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.
AOPA eNewsletter and Social Media Editor Benét J. Wilson joined AOPA in 2011. She is working on her private pilot certificate.
Department of Transportation,
Transportation Security Administration chief John Pistole announced Oct. 16 that he would retire from the helm of the agency on Dec. 31. According to the TSA, Pistole is the longest serving administrator the agency has had. His nomination to head the TSA was confirmed in 2010.
The Voters Decide campaign is making a pre-election push for a ballot measure to put the future of SMO into the hands of voters.
At an Oct. 2 meeting hosted by AOPA, U.S. CBP leaders met with their counterparts from Canada to discuss ways to ease GA border crossings.
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