Georgia on My Mind

Aug. 20, 2018

One of the most impressive qualities of the transportation sector is how easy it is for politicians to regale in its importance while simultaneously taking steps to hamper it.

I was reminded of this when Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal decided to surprise the state’s airports by eliminating a dedicated funding source for airports by taking executive action to end the state’s tax on jet fuel.

While touting the $62 billion economic impact the aviation sector has on the state per year, Deal’s office crowed in the press about the $39 million that will no longer be collected in jet fuel taxes. Under the old system, 25 percent of the taxes went to Georgia’s airports in the form of block grants, which means there’s $10 million less available for the state.

So, in other words, thanks for what you do, here’s $10 million less to make sure you can keep doing what you do on top of the federal government’s resistance to increasing the PFC.

Gee, thanks.

Some people will say that $10 million is paltry and really won’t be missed. On the flip side, that $39 million in jet fuel taxes was considered a hindrance to the state’s airlines.

According to a recent ACI-NA report, Delta alone reported a $547 million in net profit in the first quarter of 2018 on top of $3.6 billion in profits in 2017. I’m no mathamagician, but even if the airline shouldered the entire tax alone that wouldn’t even break 1 percent of their profits.

Some alluded to the airline possibly moving its headquarters if the tax elimination didn’t happen. If they thought Delta was going to leave over such a small impact to its bottom line, I would hope there are some bigger issues at play regionally and that an airline leadership would not be so vindictive as to move tens of thousands of jobs over essentially a rounding error worth of costs to its operations.

Dedicated funding sources are the most crucial tools we have to maintaining and enhancing our transportation infrastructure. Anywhere they have been eliminated or reduced has led to worse and worse infrastructure. Don’t believe me? Come to Wisconsin and drive on our roads.

Georgia’s funding source is gone and Delta has already talked of trimming routes and increasing ticket prices. Hopefully all of our Georgia readers have enough southern charm to weather through this because I know I sure couldn’t if I were in your shoes.

About the Author

Joe Petrie | Editor & Chief

Joe Petrie is the Editorial Director for the Endeavor Aviation Group.

Joe has spent the past 15 years writing about the most cutting-edge topics related to transportation and policy in a variety of sectors with an emphasis on transportation issues for the past 10 years.

Contact: Joe Petrie

Editor & Chief | Airport Business

[email protected]


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