January 23, 2014
By Benét J. Wilson
A California bill that would help airports pay for federally funded improvement projects passed the State Senate Committee on Transportation and Housing on an 11-0 vote Jan. 14. On Jan. 21, the bill was placed on the Senate Appropriations Committee suspense file pending consideration of amendments later in the week.
Under Senate Bill 616, airports would be able to move ahead with their projects in the spring and be reimbursed for state matching funds after the start of California’s fiscal year 2014-2015, which begins on July 1. AOPA is actively supporting the bill, co-sponsored by Sens. Roderick Wright (D-35) and Jean Fuller (R-18).
This bill provides airports and the California Division of Aeronautics with an important tool for expediting projects pending the adoption of the new state budget. Without this bill, airports would not be able to start their federally funded improvement projects until July 2014 if they want to receive state matching funds.
AOPA Western Pacific Regional Manager John Pfeifer testified at the Jan. 14 Senate hearing on the bill, and sent letters of support for the bill to key members of the state Senate, while AOPA also worked closely with the California Airports Council, the Association of California Airports, and the Southwest Chapter of the American Association of Airport Executives to coordinate support letters and testimony at the hearing.
The bill is expected to be presented in the full Senate prior to Jan. 31.
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