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State aviation funding crucial to aviation safety, AOPA tells Iowa legislatureState aviation funding crucial to aviation safety, AOPA tells Iowa legislature

Via Facsimile: 515/242-6108

The Honorable Mary E. Kramer
President of the Senate
Iowa State Legislature
State Capitol Building
East 12 and Grand
Des Moines, IA 50319

Dear Mrs. Kramer:

The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) is a membership association consisting of over 380,000 pilots and aircraft owners nationwide, 3,500 of whom reside in the state of Iowa. AOPA is committed to ensuring the continued viability, growth, and development of aviation and airports in Iowa and the United States.

It has been brought to our attention that the Iowa Transportation Appropriation Bill, currently in committee and scheduled to be voted on between 9:30 and 11:30 on Tuesday, eliminates line item funding for aviation. Full funding for aviation is critical for the economy of Iowa and the safety and efficiency of air travel in the state. AOPA strongly encourages proper aviation funding.

Nationally, general aviation is a $64.5 billion industry employing more than 638,000 people. In the state of Iowa, civil aviation generates more than $220.7 million annual economic activity and 4,000 jobs. In 2000, aviation generated more than $8.15 million to the state's general fund through the collection of aircraft sales tax and registration fees and aviation fuel tax. Aviation is worth investing in and plays an essential role in the economic well being of the state.

Funding shortfalls undoubtedly affect the state's ability to effectively leverage federal dollars through the matching process as part of the federal Airport Improvement Program (AIP). This is an important issue when the federal share of airport project normally is 90 percent. Now more than ever, this is critical because federal legislation has substantially increased funding that is eligible for all airports, including Iowa airports.

The safety, health, and future of Iowa's airport system depends on state funding. Programs such as the Aviation Weather and Observation System Program, Runway Pavement Marking Program, Planning Grant Program, Airport Inspection and Certification Program, and Airport Improvement Program would be eliminated without proper state funding. These programs directly impact the safety and efficiency of the state aviation transportation system.

On behalf of our Iowa members and members across the country, AOPA strongly encourages the full funding of aviation in Iowa. Aviation is well worth protecting. We encourage you to retain full funding for aviation in the Iowa Transportation Appropriation bill.

Should you need additional information on this or any related issue, please do not hesitate to contact me at 301/695-2205.

Sincerely,

Bill Dunn
Vice President
Regional Affairs

Cc: Chairman Jeff Lamberti, Senate Appropriations Committee
Vice Chair Mary Kraner, Senate Appropriations Committee
Ranking Member Eugene Fraise, Senate Appropriations Committee
AOPA Midwest Representative Bob Dickens

March 4, 2002

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