Federal Budget To Cut Funds To Small Airports, EAS Carriers

If Congress goes with the DOT spending plan, this year will be the last year for the Small Community Air Service Development grant program.

Furthermore, DOT wants to redefine "miles" as meaning the shortest driving distances. When confronted with this definition in 2004, RAP convinced Congress to define "miles" as being the most commonly driven route as certified by the governor.

Parker said the proposed new guidelines would create a new priority in funding with the most remote communities getting funded first. Furthermore, if a new community is certified, then the division of whole pool would be recalculated and reallocated.

In a call-to-arms to the RAP membership, Parker noted that "because this is an election year, it is likely that Congress will seek to restore funding for certain high profile domestic programs. Those who speak up and are heard will likely win the battle for additional funds."


The FAA proposes spending $800 million less in Airport Improvement Program funds next year. The proposed budget is $2.7 billion, compared to the $3.5 billion appropriated for this year, or the $3.4 billion spent in 2005.

Not only would fewer dollars be flowing from the Aviation Trust Fund into the program, but the existing allocation rules also would cut small airports out of the 2007 grant program. All "entitlements" for general aviation airports would be eliminated, said Phil Boyer, president of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA). This means that almost all of the money would go to big airports, "Congress must not allow this to happen," Boyer said.

The lack of new grant money would delay improvements and critical maintenance projects at general aviation airports, said Doug Macnair, vice president of government relations at Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA). "Local airport infrastructures are left wanting in this budget proposal. Again, the proposed FAA budget takes money specifically designated for airport improvements and other capital expenditures and uses it to fund general operations" of the FAA.

For the first time, the FAA will tap some $17.9 million of the trust fund dollars to fund unspecified airport technology research. In addition, it proposes spending $10 million on airport cooperative research.

>>DOT's detailed budget tables are at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/fy2007/appendix.html. Contacts: U.S. Rep. Don Young, (202) 225-7749; James Coyne, NATA, (703) 845-9000; Maurice Parker, RAP, (602) 685-4112; Phil Boyer, APOA, (301) 695-2000; Doug Macnair, EAA, (920) 426-4800.

[Copyright 2006 Access Intelligence, LLC. All rights reserved.]


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