GA Airport Operators Dreading Budget Cuts

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When Congress and the FAA start tossing billion-dollar budget numbers around, it can seem very remote and unreal. But here's what proposed cuts from Airport Improvement Project funding translates to on the ground -- a hangar that's never built, a security fence not installed, an ILS out of operation. Mike Fricker, chairman of the Airport Board in Pell City, Ala., told dailyhome.com last week: "We have been struggling for years as it is. There are, I think, 87 general aviation airports in Alabama, and there has never been sufficient money to help them grow and be safe. We've worked so hard for the last five years, and I really hate the idea of seeing our federal funds being cut after all of that." Completion of the ILS at the Talladega Airport is especially critical, Airport Board Chairman Ray Miller added. "We're not going to be able to draw the cargo planes and corporate jets that we're hoping to attract without the ILS," he said. That's just for Alabama -- similar scenarios are playing out around the other 49 states.