Members of New Hampshire’s airports community exchanged ideas on how to secure dependable funding for their facilities at the second annual meeting of the Granite State Airport Management Association.
AOPA Eastern Regional Manager Sean Collins joined representatives from 10 airports, FAA and state transportation and economic development officials, several state legislators, and staff members of the New Hampshire congressional delegation Dec. 12 at the offices of the New Hampshire Department of Transportation in Concord. They participated in four panel discussions, taking up an aspect of the meeting’s theme: "Aviation Funding in Today’s Economic Climate."
"AOPA urges state aviation/airport associations across the country to hold annual legislative days for the benefit of bringing aviation leaders together with state legislators to build awareness of the economic impact of general aviation and the associated need for funding airport infrastructure," Collins said.
"These events highlight general aviation’s success and importance to state economies. They forge relationships that can make the difference when advocating for airports at budget time and fill the gaps left by decreased federal airport improvement funding."
In 2011, New Hampshire created an aviation trust fund for public-use airports that do not receive federal airport aid—but to date there has been no dedicated funding source established to finance needed projects, Collins said.
"That’s something we need to work on," said Stephen Bourque, Granite State Airport Management Association's treasurer, president-elect, and the manager of Boire Field, a busy general aviation airport in Nashua, the state’s second largest city. "We’re really trying to get the message out on funding."
Bourque was encouraged that "a good cross section" of the state’s airports community shared ideas on how to work toward that goal. Local news media covered the session, and the Granite State Airport Management Association recorded excerpts of the meeting for future viewing online, he said.