February 25, 2014
By Benét J. Wilson
Thanks to a proactive aviation fuel tax program in Colorado, the state will issue nearly $20 million in airport improvement funds to 47 facilities. The program invests 100 percent of the aviation fuel taxes collected in the state back into Colorado’s 76 public-use airports, which benefits the general aviation community which relies on and use these facilities.
Many of the recipients are small, general aviation airports that typically don’t receive significant amounts of federal Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funding. In some cases, like Glenwood Springs Municipal Airport (KGWS), they don’t receive any federal funding.
Grant awards, announced Jan. 27 by the Colorado Aeronautical Board, can be used for safety and capacity projects across the state, at airports of all sizes. “In many cases, the state grants allow cash-strapped local municipalities to leverage federal funds that they would otherwise have to forego for lack of local matching funds,” said AOPA Northwest Mountain Regional Manager David Ulane.
Ulane pointed out the example of the Fort Morgan Municipal Airport, which will use $345,998 in state aeronautics funds and $345,999 of local funds to leverage more than $6.2 million of FAA AIP funds to begin a $6.9 million project to rehabilitate Runway 14/32. “The projects funded by this program create and maintain well-paying, skilled construction jobs across the state,” he added.
AOPA has continued to collaborate with organizations including the Colorado General Aviation Alliance, Colorado Pilots Association, the Colorado Airport Operators Association, and the Colorado Division of Aeronautics to maintain the state’s excellent airport grant program. It also continues advocacy efforts to work proactively to protect the aviation tax structure that makes these grants possible.
Members are encouraged to continue offering their support for the Colorado aviation fuel tax structure. “When the opportunity arises, contact your state legislators to voice your support for the fuel tax structure, and airport grant program,” said Ulane. A complete listing of the 2014 discretionary aviation grants can be found on the Colorado Division of Aeronautics website.
AOPA eNewsletter and Social Media Editor Benét J. Wilson joined AOPA in 2011. She is working on her private pilot certificate.
Airport Improvement Program Funding,
AOPA expressed concern in a meeting with town officials from East Hampton, New York, that restrictions proposed to curb airport noise “overwhelmingly” generated by transient commercial flights would unfairly burden traditional airport users.
West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin on Feb. 18 signed into law a bill that will add liability protection for land owners who allow aircraft operations at their privately owned airstrips and farms.
Montana awarded more than $700,000 in grants and loans to airports across the state Jan. 22, reinvesting general aviation fuel taxes into the aviation system.
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