AOPA President Phil Boyer hasn't wasted any time in trying to prod Michigan's new governor to do the right things for general aviation. In a letter to Governor-elect Jennifer M. Granholm, Boyer urged her to "consider the implications" of enforcing the state's pilot background check law. AOPA has a suit pending in federal court to strike down the law because of its unconstitutional infringement on federal authority to regulate airspace and airmen. And the FAA has also weighed in with a legal opinion that the "qualifications of persons operating aircraft are determined according to federal rules and should not be subject to standards varying from state to state.
Boyer also told the governor-elect that she shouldn't allow aviation to get lost in a bureaucratic re-shuffle.
New legislation requires that the once independent Michigan Bureau of Aeronautics be transferred into the Bureau of Urban and Public Transportation in the Michigan Department of Transportation. Boyer said that the public transportation bureau already was dealing with rail service, freight service, bus service, and marine transportation.
"The addition of aviation to their duties will, at best, be difficult to manage and will bury the needs of aviation in additional layers of bureaucracy," Boyer told Granholm. "Without the expertise and leadership of the dedicated aviation staff within the Bureau of Aeronautics, the safety and development needs of your state airports will suffer."
AOPA said that the Bureau of Aeronautics should be a separate division within MDOT.
"Our members in Michigan look to your leadership to guide and protect Michigan's thriving air transportation system," Boyer told Granholm. And to help the new governor better understand general aviation, he suggested she visit the association's new Web site.