Voters in New York state will decide on November 7 the fate of the Transportation Infrastructure Bond Act, which would provide funding for transportation system improvements throughout New York over the next five years. The act would provide $75 million in support of the state's airport system, especially at the airports most used by general aviation.
AOPA strongly supports this act and urges all New York state pilots and aircraft owners to vote in favor of it on November 7 and to urge their friends and neighbors to do likewise.
Governor Pataki, Senate Majority Leader Bruno, and Assembly Speaker Silver recently announced agreement on the details of the state's five-year, $34.2 billion transportation program. $3.8 billion of the program is proposed to be funded by the Transportation Infrastructure Bond Act of 2000, subject to voter approval November 7.
The five-year program will make important infrastructure improvements for all transportation modes including highways, bridges, transit systems, rail facilities, airports, canals, bike paths, and ports. $75 million of critical capital funding is at stake for New York's upstate airports. If approved, this funding will be invested in important projects at airports throughout the state, especially in rural or upstate areas usually poorly supported, compared to the big downstate commercial airports.
The $75 million aviation component funds a program titled "Statewide Opportunities for Airport Revitalization (NY SOARS). This program is divided into three parts—Air carrier service improvement ($35 million), general aviation access ($23.95 million), and AIR 99 supplement ($16.05 million). The money will finance projects that are not eligible for federal funding or for which federal funding is not available. The general aviation access program recognizes the importance of general aviation to business and the local and state economy.
The Air 99 supplement would provide funding for the state Dedicated Airport Fund over the next five years. This fund was created in 1999 to ensure that airports in the state system were eligible for funding to keep them financially viable and able to contribute economically to the local communities that they serve. These funds will help fill in the gaps where improvements are needed, but local or federal funding is not available.
Investment in the aviation industry goes far beyond improved runways and terminals. There is a direct link between capital improvements and air safety, air traffic delays, and airline competition. Investment in aviation also has a tremendous economic return in a number of ways, because of its support for personal and business transportation benefiting our communities and the enterprises that are their lifeblood.
Vote! A coalition of aviation supporters in New York state, led by the New York Airport Management Association and supported by the New York state DOT Aviation Bureau and by AOPA, worked to provide the aviation support funding in the current bond act. AOPA strongly supports this initiative and urges its members to vote in favor of the act on November 7. AOPA also asks you to immediately get the word out to the rest of the aviation community and to friends and neighbors so they also vote in support of the act on November 7.
Send this notice to fellow aviators, airport supporters, and to your friends and neighbors.
Thank you for helping strengthen general aviation in New York. Aviation is critical to the New York state economy.
November 3, 2000