Plans for a proposed economic stimulus package will include money for aviation infrastructure, specifically for airport improvements, according to an executive summary of the House Democrats’ stimulus legislation released by House Appropriations Chairman David Obey (D-Wis.) on Jan. 15.
AOPA has strongly encouraged lawmakers to include general aviation in any economic stimulus proposal, raising the issue with President-elect Obama’s transition team as far back as November of last year. At that time, AOPA noted that each year, general aviation contributes more than $150 billion to U.S. economic output and employs nearly 1.3 million people whose collective annual earnings exceed $53 billion.
“This investment in airports is important,” said AOPA President Craig Fuller. “We know from experience that general aviation creates jobs and fuels growth, so money invested in aviation will be well spent. But this legislation still has a long way to go, and we would like to see the final measure expand to include funding for air traffic control modernization as well.”
The stimulus package, which is intended to spur economic growth and is separate from the government’s bailout programs for troubled corporations, is expected to include $3 billion for airport improvements, with money allotted to projects to improve safety and reduce congestion. Typically, about 38 percent of money slated for airports is spent on general aviation fields. While that’s not a guarantee, it could mean more than $1 billion for GA airports.