Long-sought seaplane access and a rejection of the idea of giving away the nation’s air traffic control system are among the 2018 legislative priorities of the Colorado Aeronautical Board. A Jan. 22 resolution outlining the priorities also seeks to secure Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funding for Colorado’s airports.
The seven-member board was established in 1988, and was designed to represent both governmental and statewide aviation interests, including the state’s 60 general aviation airports that would not fare well under a proposed federal plan to “privatize” ATC.
In Colorado, GA is a critical piece of infrastructure accounting for much of the state’s transportation, economic development, emergency response, and community needs. GA airports account for $2.4 billion in economic activity each year, and aviation in the state supports more than 250,000 jobs, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation.
The Colorado board isn’t alone in its fear that a “privatized” ATC threatens GA. Nearly 200 GA groups, including AOPA, share concerns over handing our skies to an airline-dominated board of special interests and have signed a letter opposing the legislation. AOPA encourages members to voice their concerns over this legislation by calling 855-383-7330 or visiting the website.
While “privatization” remains a critical issue to the Colorado board, initiatives to allow seaplane access to state waters also are addressed in the 2018 resolution.
Currently, Colorado is the only state that bans aircraft in state-owned waters, with opponents citing concerns over the spread of invasive species and safety with overcrowded lakes. But pilots wishing to try out their sea legs may not have to wait too much longer with the resolution advocating to ease restrictions on GA aircraft.
The board’s resolution also stresses the importance of the federal AIP funding, saying it is “critical to the efficient maintenance, improvement and future development of Colorado’s airport system.”