Airports often receive little funding support from the state level, so when they do, it is imperative that the money is used properly or returned to the state aviation fund. That is what AOPA is working to ensure happens in Minnesota.
Here's the scenario: The City of Willmar is developing a replacement airport and plans to use its current facility for nonaviation uses. But the city had received state funds for land acquisition of the current airport. If it decides not to use those funds for the development of the new airport, AOPA says the money should be repaid to the state for use at other general aviation airports.
"As it is, there is seldom adequate funding available each year to fulfill the demand for general aviation airport development projects in Minnesota," said Owen Sweeney, AOPA manager of state and local government affairs. "Therefore, every dollar counts and is critical."
However, a proposal being considered in the state legislature would prevent the commissioner of transportation from requiring the City of Willmar to repay the state airports fund if it does not invest the money in the replacement airport.
"There should be no exceptions," Sweeney said. "Any agency that does not follow these state requirements should be required to repay funds received from the state or be restricted from receiving future allocations of airport development monies."
March 15, 2006