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.
Department of Transportation,
The GAO released its report “Aviation Workforce: Current and Future Availability of Airline Pilots,” and general aviation has a strong interest in its findings.
AOPA President Mark Baker flew four women and girls on two flights March 4 as part of Women of Aviation Worldwide Week activities designed to introduce more women and girls to aviation.
AOPA staff members updated attendees of the Montana Aviation Conference Feb. 27 through March 1 on the association's involvement in issues that affect pilots.
AOPA thanks our members for their continued support in protecting the freedom to fly.