AIP spending based on objective criteria
Place-naming ignores MERITS
South Dakota Senate does the Right thing
Usually when a headline announces that the Senate or Senators are place-naming a project, the reaction to a USS proposal is negative—FOR GOOD AVIATION AND GOVERNMENT POLICY (especially fiscal) REASONS:
Congress has demanded that the FAA carefully husband its AIP grants; the Members are of the opinion that the tax dollars being spent should have a “return on investment”. Consequently, the airports staff has created a very strong set of criteria to assure that the funds expended actually will provide positive long-term benefits to the public and the aviation industry. Thus, when a Member of the House or Senate “place names” a specific airport project, that action voids a funding decision made under Congressional mandate and constant oversight.
Thus, when statutory language compels specific funding of an AIP project which does not meet grant prioritization, Congress is ignoring its own order to the FAA. HYPOCRISY
The below headline is modified by the byline; the story comes from South Dakota. There the STATE senate was told that the FAA assigns a low priority to the proposed project. The SD Senate Transportation Committee recommends that funds from its treasury be allocated to build a hangar. water and sewer mains, fire hydrants, taxiways, runways, and roads.
Great that the home of Mount Rushmore took such a merited action. Right Senate, right state, and right action!!!
Dana Hess For the Rapid City Journal
PIERRE | A bill to fund a hangar area at the Rapid City Regional Airport got its first endorsement Wednesday at a meeting of the Senate Transportation Committee.
SB157 would fund a $3 million hangar project at the airport, funneling the money through the S.D. Aeronautics Commission. The bill states the funding would be used to replace a hangar and provide infrastructure like water and sewer mains, fire hydrants, taxiways, runways and roads.
Sen. David Johnson, R-Rapid City, explained to the committee that the Federal Aviation Administration funds those areas of the airport that have to do with passenger air travel and the terminal. Other activities at the airport — medical flights, firefighting flights, test flights, Civil Air Patrol, private aircraft, cargo flights, fueling, FBOs and maintenance — fall under the area of general aviation and are not necessarily funded by the FAA, said Johnson, a pilot.
Airport executive director Patrick Dame said the FAA funds projects relating to passenger travel and the terminal at 90%. Lower priority projects get less FAA funding.
“It gets to be harder and harder to fund the lower priority areas,” he said.
The money in SB157 is needed because an old World War II-era hangar was taken down and the planes using it have been displaced. “We’re pretty well full,” Dame said of the airport’s hangar space.
Dame said the airport has funded a $3 million hangar project but needs more space.
“We are working to try to help ourselves,” he said. “We’re looking for a partner to try to move this piece forward.”
The bill was opposed by Lara Williams, a budget analyst at the Bureau of Finance and Management. Williams said the bill breaks with state policy as it tells the aeronautics commission how to spend the money.
“We do not stipulate how they spend their money,” Williams said, explaining that the aeronautics commission, which is funded through aviation fuel taxes, has a process it goes through to determine how to spend its money.
On a 5-1 vote, the committee moved the bill on to the Joint Appropriations Committee with a do pass recommendation.
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