Michigan’s lawmakers have taken “a huge step in the right direction” for the state’s aviation system by passing AOPA-supported legislation that reforms state aviation funding.
The House on Dec. 15 passed the final package, which directs one-third of the revenue collected from a 6-percent aviation fuel tax to the state aeronautics fund to support airport improvements, providing about $5 million annually to underfunded aviation accounts.
The package also contains provisions to return the state to compliance with FAA policy restricting the diversion of aviation-generated revenue from support of aviation.
The legislation will take effect after Gov. Rick Snyder signs the package; he is expected to do so soon, said Bryan Budds, AOPA Great Lakes regional manager.
“This is a huge step in the right direction for Michigan’s Aviation System,” Budds said. “The entire industry has for years sought a dedicated revenue stream to ensure the long-term viability of the state’s system of airports. With the help of Senators Wayne Schmidt (R-District 37) and Goeff Hansen (R-District 34), a new sustainable funding mechanism has been put in place.”
Following Senate passage of the five bills that make up the reform package, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee recommended the measures, and referred them to the full House, which passed them on Dec. 15.
During the approval process, AOPA testified before several legislative committees, worked with bill sponsors to ensure that general aviation was protected, and lobbied members of the legislature to urge their support.
“Members should be pleased that the state’s airports now have a dedicated funding source for future improvements while aviation fuel tax rates—which are among the highest in the country—remain unchanged,” said Budds, adding that in recent years, “several proposals to raise the fuel tax significantly had been considered.”