Should Arizona's St. Johns Industrial Air Park be shut down for four days to host a car race? That's what the city wants to do for Labor Day weekend, but AOPA says that runways and taxiways weren't meant for that kind of activity. In fact, Grand Prix-style racing is extremely destructive to paved surfaces, which would only reduce the useful life of the tarmac. AOPA is asking the FAA to reject the proposal. The agency has invested federal airport development funds in improving and maintaining the public-use facility. If the FAA decides to approve the closure, AOPA thinks the agency should, at the very least, require the event promoter to compensate the airport for the use of the property (at fair market value) and pay a percentage of proceeds to the airport for future pavement repairs and maintenance. Also, AOPA thinks the promoter should have to fully pay for any damage to runway or taxiway surfaces. AOPA has been in contact with the congressional representatives to express the association's opposition to the closure.
July 14, 2006