AOPA: Budget Proposal Threatens Airports

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Following The New York Times' message of a yet-unaddressed threat posed to national security by GA's unfenced airports and unscreened baggage (see above), AOPA says the Bush administration's 2006 federal budget proposal will cut a wide swath through GA airports, costing them more than large commercial facilities because of the way the funding formula works. The budget would trim $600 million from the congressionally authorized Airport Improvement Program (AIP) and may eradicate an annual "entitlement" (the only federal money some small airports receive) amid an overall cut of 1.27 percent planned for the FAA's 2006 budget. "The smallest airports that can afford it the least will be hurt the most," said AOPA president Phil Boyer. Boyer told the FAA's Eastern Region Airport Conference in Hershey, Pa., that under the funding formula, if the AIP budget goes below $3.2 billion, the allotment for GA projects drops from 20 percent of the total to 18.5 percent. More than 600 airport managers, consultants and government officials attended the 28th annual conference.