The Tennessee Legislature is desperately seeking solutions to a projected state budget shortfall of $351 million. The solution could threaten Tennessee airports and their improvement, development, and maintenance. In 1986, AOPA was instrumental in establishing the Tennessee Transportation Equity Fund. Monies in the transportation equity fund are derived from state sales tax revenues on aviation fuels and are dedicated to airport development, maintenance, and improvement. AOPA strongly opposes any proposal that would raid Tennessee's dedicated airport fund and remove $7.5 million to help balance the state budget.
Tennessee holds a leadership position in the nation for its longtime support of your state's extraordinary system of general aviation airports. The states economic progress and its success in attracting industry are accountable in large measure to Tennessee's transportation infrastructure. Its well-maintained system of 76 general aviation airports provides users of all types with safe and efficient access to the communities they serve.
Tennessee could lose millions of dollars in federal airport funding if it does not have the necessary matching state dollars to qualify for federal monies. If the legislature removes funds from Tennessee's transportation equity fund, it could have a detrimental impact on Tennessee's ability to fund its airports system.
Pilots and aircraft owners are urged to contact your House and Senate members immediately. Letters and faxes are most effective, but e-mail and phone contacts are useful too. Please be sure that the first line of your letter clearly states that the letter is submitted in strong opposition to the removal of $7.5 million from the transportation equity fund. There are no bill numbers attached to specific budget items/options. It is especially important to describe how the decrease in state airport funding is important, how it affects you personally and your local airport. Emphasize the importance of Tennessee's system of general aviation airports to your state's economy and its ongoing economic progress.
May 10, 2000