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AOPA working to protect state aviation funds: Letter to Minnesota Rep. SviggumAOPA working to protect state aviation funds: Letter to Minnesota Rep. Sviggum

The Honorable Steve Sviggum
Speaker of the House
Minnesota House of Representatives
State Office Building
100 Constitution Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55155

Re: Minnesota House Bill 74

Dear Speaker Sviggum:

The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), representing the general aviation interests of more than 390,000 members nationwide and 7,700 members in Minnesota, is concerned about the negative effect House Bill 74 will have on aviation funding.

House Bill 74 will take away $15 million of money our members have contributed in the form of aviation taxes that were designated for statewide airport development. The legislature proposes for this airport fund money to be transferred to the general fund. AOPA is strongly opposed to the transfer of any money from the state airport fund.

The state airport fund was established in Minnesota Statutes § 360.017 to utilize aviation fuel tax, aircraft registration tax, and airline property tax for the development of Minnesota's air transportation system. The concept was simple, using money from aviation to further fund aviation, and this concept has always worked well in Minnesota.

Transferring this money now puts the airport fund at risk. The money paid into this fund by aircraft owners and operators was anticipated to be used for aviation development. Any transfer of money from this fund now or in the future could jeopardize important state programs such as the airport construction program, airport maintenance and operation program, and other state grant aid programs for airports.

Airports are an important component of our national transportation system and play a vital role in the local economic picture by providing a direct conduit for infusing dollars into the local communities. Proper state funding ensures the safety and utility of the statewide aviation transportation system.

AOPA and our more than 7,700 members in Minnesota hope you and the other legislative leaders will not overlook the importance of aviation to the state of Minnesota. We hope you will ensure the continued safety and utility of the state's aviation system by continuing to provide adequate aviation funding. We encourage the legislative leadership to oppose the transfer of any money from the state airport fund.

To learn more about the importance of general aviation and the critical role it plays in our nation's economy, you are invited to visit the Web site we have developed at www.GAServingAmerica.org. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at 301/695-2221.

Sincerely,

Andrew V. Cebula
Senior Vice President
Government and Technical Affairs

Cc: Minnesota House of Representatives Majority Leader, The Honorable Erik Paulsen
Minnesota House of Representatives Minority Leader, The Honorable Matt Entenza
Minnesota Lt. Governor Carol Molnau
Minnesota House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee
Minnesota President of the Senate, The Honorable Don Samuelson
Minnesota Senate Finance Committee
AOPA Midwest Regional Representative Bob Dickens

January 22, 2003

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