On January 12, the state legislature introduced Senate Bill 108 (SB 108). SB 108 would create the Oregon Department of Aviation and transfer all aviation duties and functions currently performed by the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) to the new department. SB 108 passed the state Senate and is currently being considered by the House Committee on Transportation.
AOPA has gone on record supporting this initiative because we believe that an independent state aviation agency better emphasizes the efficient planning of the state aviation system, increases advocacy, defines accountability, and better defines regulatory and management responsibilities at the state level. The proposed aviation agency would have a higher visibility within the state in terms of executive, legislative, judicial, and funding recognition. The current mission of ODOT is, and will always be, primarily oriented toward and controlled by surface transportation interests. In the early 1990s, when Oregon Aeronautics was incorporated into DOT, the intent was to “integrate” all modes of transportation within a single entity. While this structure may initially seem logical, the fact is state and federal funding for aviation programs is handled much differently than funding for surface transportation. This fact by itself justifies the proposed independent aviation department. Senate Bill 108 would also create a state aviation board, which in turn, will appoint the department’s director, who must have a pilot license and experience in airport operations or management. The duties of the director would include administration of the laws of the state concerning aviation and provide direct representation of the state’s aviation interest when dealing with other state or federal agencies. Aviation needs and concerns are too specific to be addressed by non-aviation entities. We urge you to support Senate Bill 108.
Contact your individual state representative and Representative Montgomery by phone, letter, fax, or e-mail and let him know that you support Senate Bill 108. If you write or fax your views on this issue, please forward a copy to AOPA State Legislative Affairs, 421 Aviation Way, Frederick, MD 21701 .
February 12, 1999