A bill making its way through the Tennessee legislature could cost the state all federal airport improvement funds. The Tennessee state House of Representatives has passed and sent to the Senate a bill that would allow money from the state's aviation Equity Fund to be spent on other budget items. The state Senate takes up the measure on Monday. The Equity Fund is currently set aside exclusively for airport development projects.
When the state tried to pass similar legislation last year, the FAA told Tennessee it would violate federal statutes and would jeopardize further federal funding of airport projects. (Federal funds usually pay for 90 percent of approved airport projects.) Tennessee pilots are encouraged to contact their state representatives and senators to express opposition to SB-3135 and HB-3116. Passage of these bills would jeopardize not only state airport improvement funding, but federal funding as well, said AOPA Regional Representative Bob Minter.