AOPA President Phil Boyer presented the association's 2000 Hartranft Award to Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott February 12 in his Senate office. The award recognizes Lott's leadership in securing passage of the landmark Aviation Investment and Reform Act (AIR-21) in last year's Congress.
"When AIR-21 stalled in Congress in late 1999, Senator Lott shouldered the challenge, pulled the conferees together, and addressed concerns regarding the legislation in the Senate," said Boyer. "AIR-21 succeeded in committee, and in the Senate, because of Trent Lott's leadership."
The landmark legislation unlocks the aviation trust fund and directs that all money collected from taxes on aircraft fuel, airline passenger tickets, and air cargo be used for capital improvements to airports and the air traffic control system.
AIR-21 authorized some $40 billion for the FAA over the next three years, which includes a 64-percent increase in airport funding and a 35-percent increase in funds available for air traffic control modernization.
AOPA's Hartranft Award recognizes the government official who made the greatest contribution to the cause of general aviation for the year. The 2000 award was announced last October at AOPA Expo 2000 in Long Beach, California, but Senator Lott was unable to accept the award in person then.
While on Capitol Hill, Boyer also initiated a series of meetings with the new leaders of the congressional committees important to aviation.
The 365,000-member Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association is the world's largest civil aviation organization. More than one half of the nation's pilots and three quarters of the aircraft owners are AOPA members.