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Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Nisha Marvel, WSDOT Aviation communications, 360-651-6310
OLYMPIA - Aviation got a boost when Gov. Chris Gregoire announced the state’s proposed 2013-2015 budget, which includes two important aviation components: an airport investment study and an additional $1.5 million for the state’s Airport Aid Grant program.
The Washington State Department of Transportation will spearhead the proposed airport investment study, which will evaluate the need for preservation and safety projects at the state’s public-use airports. The budget also proposes a one-time, $1.5 million funding increase to WSDOT’s Airport Aid Grant program, which provides funding for critical airport improvement and preservation projects in Washington. This increase will address a backlog of paving and preservation needs at public-use airports.
“This proposed budget is good news for aviation in our state,” said Tristan Atkins, WSDOT director of aviation. “More funding for the grant program means more money for crucial airport projects. The proposed investment study is also a good opportunity to really examine airport funding needs and potential improvement options.”
If the budget is adopted, representatives from commercial and general aviation; airport associations and organizations; airport sponsors; federal, state, and local agencies; and the airline, aerospace, emergency medical air transport, and aerial agricultural industries will all participate in the airport investment study. WSDOT will report the study’s findings to the Office of Financial Management and the Legislature’s transportation committees by October 1, 2013. The report must include:
- Current funding for airport preservation and safety projects
- Short-term (0-5 years) and long-term (5-20 year) airport improvement needs
- Funding options to address airport investment needs
Additional funding for the Airport Aid Grant program would come from WSDOT’s aeronautics account, which is funded through a fee on aviation fuel and a portion of state aircraft registration fees/excise taxes. With the added funds, grant program dollars would increase from about $2 million to $3.5 million during the 2013-2015 biennium.
WSDOT’s Aviation Division is responsible for protecting and preserving the state’s public-use airports. Airports are vital to the state, fueling its economy and providing critical links to the state and national transportation systems.
More information about the airport investment study is located at:
http://www.ofm.wa.gov/budget13/bills/Z-0184-7transpo.pdf (section 214)
More information about the 2013-2015 transportation budget is located at: http://www.ofm.wa.gov/budget13/recsum/default.asp#transportation
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