Washington state pilots with ideas for improving their aviation system have an opportunity to pitch their proposals through a statewide outreach program seeking input on transportation policy.
The Washington State Transportation Commission (WSTC) recently launched a public engagement program called the Voice of Washington State (VOWS). It invites residents to participate in online forums or take surveys on how to improve the state’s transportation system—including aviation.
“The ultimate goal is to gather public input on Washington state transportation policy and funding, and to inform the statewide discussion and decision-making process,” said a transportation commission news release. “Topics for discussion will focus on all things transportation: highways, mass transit, freight and high-speed rail, ferries, barges, and aviation. The governor and Legislature will be briefed on the ideas and data generated through the online discussion forums and surveys.”
The seven-member transportation commission reviews state transportation needs and issues a 20-year report, and also sets the state’s highway and bridge tolls, and ferry fares.
AOPA is working in cooperation with the Washington Pilots Association to inform pilots about the opportunity to make suggestions, and encourage them to do so. The effort is important because the Washington State Department of Transportation’s (WSDOT) aviation grant program supports aviation infrastructure projects that keep a public-use airport system of 138 airports running.
The grant program “has leveraged millions of dollars in federal grants by using a relatively minimal amount of state and local match contributions,” says a WSDOT-Aviation informational publication available on the agency’s website.
In May, AOPA reported that WSDOT Aviation had released an economic study—described by division chief Tristan Atkins as ‘overwhelmingly positive”—that linked the creation of 248,500 jobs, and $50.9 billion in total economic activity to activity generated by the state’s public-use airport system.