MPA LEGISLATION REPORT
GREETINGS! First, Here's an update from Washington, D.C. Funding for the FAA and TSA for FY2002 was finally
approved by Congress in late February, targeting $13.6 billion for FAA, and $5.2 billion for TSA's Civil Aviation
Services. The Airport Improvement Program will receive $3.4 billion for the year, a $100 million increase.
The funding for 2002 had been handled through continuing resolutions until passage of the omnibus-spending bill.
The aviation industry, meanwhile, is gearing up for a new authorization process to begin in FY2003, with the intent of securing more than a one-year package.
Despite finally having an aviation and TSA funding bill passed for the rest of FY2002, questions and concerns remain among industry groups about how airport security is going to be funded. It is projected that TSA will face as much as a $3 billion shortfall and aviation reps worry that the AIP fund will be forced to make up the difference.
Also, in question will be how the recent transfer of TSA from DOT to the new Department of Homeland Security will impact funding. Passenger security fees are expected to generate only $1.7 billion in 2003 and 2004, according to DOT Inspector General Kenneth Mead.
Secondly, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley told The Chicago Sun-Times that, Daley "dropped all pretenses" and admitted it was not security concerns that drove him to destroy Meigs Field but his intent to turn the airport into a waterfront park. Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge confirmed Daley had not consulted his department. At the same time, National Transportation Association President James K. Coyne told the House Subcommittee on Aviation strongly and directly that "Congress must act by condemning the action" taken by Daley at Meigs. Coyne warned directly that "Meigs" could well be the first in along line of state and local government actions designed only to meet personal agendas, while ignoring the aviation infrastructure needs of the nation as a whole." If anything Daley's change of script will add more fuel to the considerable fire that's burning over his decision to send excavators to tear large Xs in the airport's only runway 10 days ago. Many Pilot Associations, such as AOPA, USPA, COPA, and many others are writing letters, most are posted on the Friends of Meigs Field Web Site.
What all General Aviation Pilots need to do, is write letters to your State Senators, and Congressmen asking them to take some action in this matter. Because other Airports could be in jeopardy, if we let this situation happen. We can't afford any more Airport Closings.
Thirdly, Here's an update Concerning Missouri Legislation. HB275, seems to be held up in the Local Government Committee. If you know any of these Local Government Committee Members go to: http://www.house.state.mo.us/bills03/commit/com173.htm
Now, What we need to do as MPA Members, and Taxpayers, is to contact these Committee Members and express your concerns to them, and that we need their support in passing this bill out of The Local Government Committee, and how vitally important it is to Aviation in Missouri.
Now, In Conclusion, Remember, we as USPA, MPA, EAA, AOPA, or any other State Pilot Associations we have a powerful voice in Missouri, and Washington, D.C. So Let's exercise our privileges, and continue to make a "Difference for General Aviation."
Until Next Time!
Larry G. Harmon
E-mail address: MPALHARMON@sbcglobal.net
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