Mayor John Cowman of Leander, Texas, is determined to see that a new central Texas airport is built just north of his city. Last week, working with AOPA Regional Representative Shelly Lesikar and AOPA Vice President of Airports Bill Dunn, Cowman orchestrated a meeting between AOPA, Williamson County officials, the Texas Department of Transportation, several local pilots, and the Central Texas Mobility Authority to discuss options. Staff members from the offices of Congressman John Carter and state Rep. Mike Krusee also participated. The FAA has made it clear that it is committed to seeing this desperately needed general aviation airport constructed. Since the state was directed by the legislature in 2001 to build the new airport, one of the primary impediments has been a restriction on using state funds to provide the local matching funds required by the FAA. This legislative session AOPA worked with Cowman and Krusee to remove that restriction. At last week's meeting, airport sponsorship and ownership options were discussed. Finding a public sponsor other than the state would remove the funding restrictions and several other restrictions, including the need for local government approval, allowing the project to move forward more quickly.
July 15, 2005