The South Dakota Aeronautics Commission voted unanimously Jan. 26 to relieve local governments of some of the cost of Airport Improvement Program (AIP) projects by increasing the state contribution.
The federal government chips in 95 percent of the cost for AIP projects; states and local entities split the remaining 5 percent. South Dakota had contributed 2 percent of the cost of projects, leaving local airport sponsors to shoulder the remaining 3 percent. The aeronautics commission decision increases the state contribution by half, to 3 percent.
AOPA and other organizations had encouraged commissioners to match nearby states’ contribution of 2.5 percent, and the commission vote goes a step further. The increase in state funding comes as a windfall to towns that are struggling to balance budgets during the recession.
“An increase of 1 percent of the total cost may not mean as much to a big city with a commercial airport, but it’s very meaningful to small towns where we have general aviation airports,” said AOPA Central Regional Representative Bill Hamilton. “For the 70 GA airports in South Dakota, this significantly improves their ability to match state and federal funding to get needed infrastructure improvements.”