Sun, Aug 10, 2003
AOPA Criticizes Sharp Drop In California Aviation Funding
California's Division of
Aeronautics is taking a $4.8-million hit under an austere new
budget signed into law by Gov. Gray Davis (D-CA). AOPA is urging
state senators in Sacramento to approve a bill (Senate Bill 1048)
that would restore the lost aeronautics funds.
In a letter to Gov. Davis urging him to support and sign the
senate bill, AOPA President Phil Boyer chided the governor for
taking tax money paid only by aviation users specifically to fund
the state's aviation needs.
"Without these funds, there would be a dramatic decrease in
funding for aeronautics programs, and the safety and utility of
many general aviation airports would be adversely impacted," wrote
Boyer. "These funds are derived from taxes paid by users of the
aviation system and should not be diverted from their intended
Boyer also pointed out
that a soon-to-be-released report on the economic impact of
aviation in California will show that nine percent of the state's
economic activity is related to aviation.
"We know that California is facing some very hard choices,"
Boyer said (like whether to elect Arnold Schwarzenegger, Gary
Coleman or porn actress Mary Carey to replace Davis if he's
recalled in October). "Although aviation is not being singled out
in these cuts, we believe that slashing aviation funding as they
have is extremely short-sighted."
The state's director of Aeronautics, Austin Wiswell, has already
warned airport managers that $2.9 million in state-funded airport
projects are on hold, as are $2.5 million in state matching funds
for federal airport improvement program projects. He plans to meet
his payroll and then dole out what little is left over to a handful
of already-approved airport projects.
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