The Honorable Janet Napolitano
Governor of Arizona
1700 West Washington
Phoenix, AZ 85007
Dear Governor Napolitano:
As President of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), the world's largest general aviation organization with over 390,000 members nationwide and 10,460 members in Arizona, congratulations and best wishes on your recent gubernatorial victory!
Aviation funding by the state is very important to AOPA's members. In light of your recently released budget plan that proposed significant cuts in aviation funding, I wanted to share with you the economic boost provided by aviation to the state.
In 1998, Arizona State University completed a study of the economic impact of aviation in Arizona. The study revealed that general aviation alone, all civilian flying, excluding scheduled air service, supports over 22,000 jobs and provides nearly $1.5 billion annually in economic impact to the state. The total impact of aviation rose to $28.2 billion from $16.9 billion between 1983 and 1998 as the state's population grew. The results of this study suggest that aviation responds strongly not only to population growth, but other changes in the economy as well, including industry mix and technological change. The study predicts that total impact of aviation on the state will exceed $40 billion by 2010.
Airports are a key component of our transportation system and play a vital role in the local economic picture, providing a direct conduit for infusing dollars into the community. Many light industrial and manufacturing firms, agricultural, mining, livestock businesses, and banks depend upon rural Arizona airports for transporting time-sensitive materials and documents. Many communities cannot hope to attract new industry and technology without a well-maintained airport.
Arizona's airports serve as on-ramps to the nation's air transportation system and must be funded at adequate levels to maintain aircraft safety and efficiency.
Our members in Arizona look to your leadership to guide and protect Arizona's thriving aviation transportation system. I offer any help that my office might be able to provide you or members of your staff. A brochure is enclosed that shows the critical role that general aviation plays in our nation's economy. The brochure also includes a CD-ROM that provides a tour of our new and informative Web site on the importance of general aviation at www.GAservingAmerica.org.
Again, congratulations and my best wishes for success.
January 29, 2003