AOPA will be on hand at the Washington State Capitol in Olympia on Jan. 19 for the fourth annual Airport Awareness Day event—a gathering that in past years has given advocates important opportunities to make aviation’s case directly to legislative leaders, staff, and other policymakers.
AOPA is a major sponsor of the Aviation Day event hosted by the Washington State Aviation Alliance. The 2015 event was widely credited with helping bring about passage of legislation that improved the funding of the state’s aeronautics accounts without new or increased taxes, by reallocating aircraft excise tax proceeds.
“Support for Washington’s public-use airports really took off in fiscal year 2015 as the Washington State Department of Transportation leveraged $1.3 million in state money to secure $35.3 million in federal airport aid. The state also received $637,000 from a reallocation in aircraft excise tax fees,” the Washington State Department of Transportation's Aviation Division said in a Dec. 2, 2015, news release.
Such results demonstrate the importance of state-level advocacy efforts on behalf of AOPA’s members in conjunction with local aviation organizations, said Warren Hendrickson, AOPA’s Northwest Mountain regional manager.
During the 2016 event, AOPA will provide displays and informational brochures on issues and advocacy programs that build support for state aviation infrastructure and strengthen aviation funding.
The association encourages members who are interested in participating in state-level aviation advocacy to engage legislators from their home districts by inviting them to visit airports in the district. Members also can encourage their lawmakers to join aviation caucuses in their state legislatures, if they have not yet done so.
Pilots in Washington State can become active with the Washington Pilots Association, or volunteer to serve on local airport advisory boards or commissions, Hendrickson said.