Study will focus on Washington State's aviation funding

March 7, 2013

When the legislature of the State of Washington opens its 2014 lawmaking session, a comprehensive report on needed aviation investments will await their attention—along with proposals for how to pay for the projects.

The report is intended as much more than a one-session list of projects for improving the 136 public-use airports in the state system, and price tags.

“The study’s findings will be used to develop airport investment funding proposals for future legislative sessions,” said the Washington State Department of Transportation’s Aviation Division, in an announcement of the research project.

In a departure from past efforts in which the research was a legislative function, agency professionals will manage the investment study. They will seek participation from a wide swath of Washington aviation interests, said the aviation division’s director, Tristan Atkins

The new approach sits well with the department’s “diverse aviation and aerospace partners,” Atkins said in the agency’s announcement.

For general aviation, the report could present a key policy question to the Washington lawmakers, said David Ulane, AOPA’s Northwest/Mountain regional manager.

“Presently in the state of Washington, not all revenue collected from aviation activities are reinvested in aviation,” he said. “The results of this study could help ensure that future aviation revenues are used for aviation purposes.”

Atkins said the effort would begin this spring with meetings to bring “all stakeholders to the table to take a closer look at potential funding options.”

“At the end of the day, this study should tell us what projects are needed at our state’s airports, determine how much they will cost, and identify some practical ways to fund them,” he said.

AOPA has been regularly engaged in Washington state aviation policy. The association will track progress on the investment study, and encourages members who may be extended an opportunity to represent their local aviation interests to participate.

“We will work to ensure that the funding options proposed from this study minimize the impact on our members and the general aviation community,” Ulane said.