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Fate of Washington airport hangs in the balance

Fate of Washington airport hangs in the balance

Blaine Municipal Airport

Protecting airports, the on- and off-ramps to the National Airspace System, is a perennial top concern for members. That's why AOPA is urging pilots to save Blaine Municipal Airport, located in northwestern Washington state.

For the past 18 months, AOPA has worked tirelessly with local pilots and Blaine Airport Support Network (ASN) volunteer Martin Ranck to secure the future of this airport. But the aviation community's hard work now hangs in the balance.

The Blaine City Council is expected to meet at 7 p.m. on Monday, February 26, to take formal action on Ordinance 07-2658, which would close the airport by the end of 2008 or sooner, according to Ranck.

This is a critical vote that will decide the fate of the airport. Washington pilots MUST attend Monday evening's meeting and speak in support of the airport. To view the current city council agenda for the meeting, please check the city's Web site.

AOPA has been in contact with city officials to express our strong opposition to closing the airport and our support for the continued operation of Blaine Municipal.

This latest threat comes on the heels of a 4 to 3 vote by the council in October 2006 to keep the airport open and complete the projects included in the airport's master plan. Unfortunately, the majority of the city council wanted more than $16 million in federal Airport Improvement Program funds all at one time. The FAA was only able to offer $500,000 this year due primarily to timing and the need to stage grants over an extended period of time.

Even though the state of Washington has invested funds in airport development, the airport has no federal grants or grant obligations to keep the airport open.

February 23, 2007

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