AOPA Urges Pilots To Attend Council Meeting
fate of a small northwestern airport
hangs in the balance of a planned vote by the Blaine, WA city
council Monday night.
The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association reports the latest
threat to Blaine Municipal Airport (4W6) comes on the heels of a
4-3 vote by the council in October 2006 to keep the airport open,
and complete several expansion projects included in the airport's
Unfortunately, says AOPA, the majority of the city council
wanted more than $16 million in federal Airport Improvement Program
funds all at one time. Those grants are usually meted out over
several years -- and the FAA was only able to offer $500,000 this
The Northern Light newspaper reports state aviation planner Mary
Vargas from the Seattle FSDO sent an email to Blaine city
officials, stating the FAA recommended keeping Blaine at its
current size instead of going ahead with the planned expansion, as
the funding just wasn't available to do everything at once.
In response, council member John Liebert introduced a resolution
last month that would strike down the city's hold on the airport
master plan -- and set the wheels in motion on an ordinance
that, if approved, would close the airport completely by the end of
2008. The proposal was approved by a 4-2 vote.
At a February 18 council meeting, Liebert pushed for members to
adopt the bill, despite the absence of one of the council members.
Councilman Charlie Hawkins protested that plan.
"I think it’s totally unfair that we would even bring it
up," Hawkins said. "Everybody should be here to discuss it, not
just cherry picking when someone isn’t here."
"It’s an extremely key vote that deserves the attention of
everyone," council member Bonnie Onyon agreed.
The full council is set to vote on the matter February 26. AOPA
urges all Washington pilots to attend the meeting, and speak in
support of the airport.