Aviation advocates gathered in Olympia on Jan. 28 to participate in the second annual Airport Funding Day. The Washington State Community Airports Association and Washington Airport Management Association hosted the event to increase awareness for legislators, legislative staff, committee staff and the governor’s staff about the funding needs at the state’s 134 public airports.
The Washington State Department of Transportation’s Aviation division assisted with the event, providing information on the state’s airport funding sources and needs, particularly regarding airport pavements and its airport grant program. (Photo – From left to right are, WSDOT’s Eric Johnson, John MacArthur, AOPA’s David Ulane, and WSDOT Director Tristan Atkins.)
Some of the information provided by WSDOT included:
A 2012 Washington airport pavement study that shows pavement conditions at many airports are deteriorating.
By 2020, at current funding levels, the backlog of airport pavement work is estimated at $257 million (an 18 percent increase).
During the most recent airport grant cycle, WSDOT received over $3 million in grant requests from 44 airports.
Because of a temporary increase in state funding levels (typically $1 million annually), in 2013 WSDOT awarded $2 million to 33 airports that helped fund 55 different airport projects.
“Airports have a huge impact on our state’s economy, transportation system, safety and quality of life,” said WSDOT Aviation Director Tristan Atkins. “Airport Funding Day was a great example of how aviation associations can come together to increase awareness about our state’s aviation funding needs.”
About 85 people participated in the funding day, which took place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the John A. Cherberg Building.
Just before the event, WSDOT provided a briefing at the first Aviation Caucus of the 2014 legislative session, hosted by Sen. Jim Honeyford and Rep. Gael Tarleton. At that meeting Atkins and WSDOT Senior Aviation Planner Rob Hodgman provided the group with information on the current Airport Investment Study and the Governor’s proposed 2014 supplemental budget.