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Massachusetts landing fee bill hearing set for June 24

A legislative hearing was set for June 24 on a Massachusetts state senator’s proposal to charge many aircraft a $1,000 “climate mitigation” fee for landing at state airports amid signs that the sponsor might abandon the punitive approach to environmental activism.

AOPA You Can Fly Champion Michael Goulian flies his Cirrus SR22 over the Cape Cod Canal.

AOPA is encouraging members to submit testimony to the legislative Joint Committee on Transportation on S.2305 for the virtual hearing (taking place June 24 from 2 to 4 p.m., and with online testimony accepted until 5 p.m.) to note concern about the measure’s potential to snuff out a thriving aviation economy and the Bay State jobs it supports.

Already, the bill’s proponent, state Sen. Julian Cyr (D-Truro), has signaled in responses to voter feedback that members shared with AOPA that his proposal was a misguided attempt to force change on an industry segment he did not understand, and that he now seems ready to call the legislative equivalent of a missed approach.

On June 1, AOPA issued a Member Action Alert flagging the bill for our 5,000 members in Massachusetts.

“I can’t thank our AOPA members in Massachusetts enough. When AOPA members engage, policymakers listen,” said Sean Collins, AOPA Eastern regional manager. “Senator Cyr has indicated in his latest responses to members that he will work with the aviation community to bring about incentive programs for the development of and increased access to sustainable aviation fuels, development of electric powerplant technology, and other innovative initiatives to improve the efficiency and safety of aviation.”

Attempting to recover from his legislative bounced landing, Cyr wrote that it was “never our intent to hamper recreational aviation or impose onerous costs on small-scale operators.”

In belated acknowledgement of FAA prohibitions on revenue diversion by public-use airports that use federal airport grants to maintain and expand their infrastructure, he also conceded that the federal rules “would make this bill nearly impossible to implement” by the state.

Charting a new course to fly as a follow-on to discussions with aviation advocates, Cyr added that “the aim of our new forthcoming bill would position Massachusetts as a leader” in sustainable aviation fuel, which he said lacked incentive programs and availability on the East Coast.

He added that he expects the pending bill to be sent into a holding pattern (for study), a maneuver “which means it will not advance any further this legislative session.” Any successor measure would be crafted to “constructively” advance sustainable aviation fuel and cut down on carbon emissions, he said.

Dan Namowitz
Dan Namowitz
Dan Namowitz has been writing for AOPA in a variety of capacities since 1991. He has been a flight instructor since 1990 and is a 35-year AOPA member.
Topics: Advocacy, Airport Advocacy, State Legislation

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