Feb. 13, 2015

Support for aviation continues to gain momentum in Washington state, where two positive funding bills are making their way through the state legislature, the Washington State Legislature Aviation Caucus continues to grow, and a recent Washington Airport Awareness Day highlighted the importance of airports and the aviation system to the Evergreen State.

“The efforts of the many aviation advocacy organizations in Washington are making inroads in ensuring the best outcomes for aviation users,” said Kristi Ivey, NBAA’s Northwest regional representative. “By working together as an alliance, in-state aviation groups are enhancing their effectiveness and getting out the message about the benefits of aviation to the state.”

The two bills under consideration in the Washington state legislature – HB 1526 and SB 5324 – would ensure that 100 percent of the aircraft excise tax paid by aircraft owners would go to the state aeronautics fund. Currently, only 10 percent is allocated to aeronautics and 90 percent goes to the general fund.

According to Washington Pilots Association President Les Smith, “That additional 90 percent would mean $637,000 biennially going toward the repair and upkeep of Washington airports. With current grant formulas, the $637,000 could be used to obtain $9.3 million in federal funds. That’s leveraging $18 federal dollars for every state dollar.”

Ivey, who is NBAA’s liaison to the Pacific Northwest Business Aviation Association (PNBAA) board of directors, noted that PNBAA supports the aviation legislation and that she and PNBAA Vice President Wayne Werner recently attended the first 2015 meeting of the Washington State Legislature Aviation Caucus in the capital city of Olympia. Led again this year by Senator Jim Honeyford (R-15th) and Representative Gael Tarleton (D-36th), the caucus provides a focal point for aviation interests in the legislature, according to Ivey.

“This meeting was very important for us to be able to discuss with interested legislators and state aviation officials the priorities for business aviation in Washington state, including the excise tax bill being presented,” said Werner.

NBAA, PNBAA and other area aviation organizations also supported the recently held Washington Airport Awareness Day, which also took place at the state capitol. Now in its third year, Airport Awareness Day highlights the importance of airports to Washington’s transportation system, economy and quality of life. The Washington Airport Management Association and Washington Community Airports Association hosted the event.