Rep. Jerry Costello (D-Ill.), chairman of the House aviation subcommittee
Rep. Jerry Costello (D-Ill.), chairman of the House aviation subcommittee, presided over the House of Representatives Jan. 20. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi selected Costello to call the House to order before the assembly headed to the front of the Capitol to observe the inauguration of President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.
“This is an important honor,” said AOPA President Craig Fuller, “and it reflects Chairman Costello’s respect and leadership.”
Costello was instrumental in preventing user fees in 2008, and he will play a key role again this year in the FAA funding issue. He has taken the lead on many general aviation issues during his tenure in the House, including early hearings on the state of flight service during Lockheed Martin’s rough start to modernize the system. Costello also pushed for sensible changes to the Washington, D.C., Air Defense Identification Zone.
In 2003, he helped negotiate the legislative language that “unlocked” the aviation trust fund and permitted all aviation taxes collected to go toward airports and other aviation programs.
Costello recognizes GA airports as vital national assets, and his support for these types of facilities extends outside his district. He voted to support Meigs Field when the National Aviation Capacity Expansion Act (H.R.3479) came before him in 2002.
As a longtime friend of GA, AOPA honored Costello in 2007 with the association’s prestigious Joseph B. Hartranft “Doc” Award. The award is named for AOPA’s first employee and president who served for 38 years.