A Message from WAMA's President:
2017 WAMA Annual Conference. This year’s event will be held at the Semiahmoo Resort and Spa in Blaine from May 2-May 4. I stayed at this location for two days just last week and was very impressed with the room, amenities and beautiful surroundings. If you haven’t already done so please register for the conference and book your room soon.
Legislative Updates. The first quarter in 2017 saw a fair amount of aviation-related activity in Olympia – please read the update in this newsletter from WAMA’s Legislative Committee. Although WAMA’s mission is primarily centered on WA State, there are obviously issues at the national level that can directly impact WA airports. For that reason I’d like to provide you with an outline of key legislative items from the recent joint AAAE/ACI-NA Legislative Conference I attended in Washington D.C.
FAA Reauthorization Bill. The current extension expires at the end of September 2017. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done in Congress between now and then to successfully implement a traditional five-year reauthorization bill. Congress should allocate at least $4 billion annually for the Airport Improvement Program (AIP).
Passenger Facility Charges (PFCs). You will recall that airports were asking for the cap to be increased to $8.50 from the current $4.50. But with the introduction of a bipartisan House Bill to completely eliminate the cap altogether, airports are now throwing their weight behind this initiative.
Airport Bonds. Congress should retain the tax exemption for municipal bonds and private activity bonds.
ATC Privatization. This is a proposal that has invoked strong opinions by lawmakers on both sides of the argument. This issue alone has the potential to delay Congress passing a new long-term FAA Reauthorization Bill in a timely manner. As of now, the official position of both AAAE and ACI-NA is to remain neutral on whether or not privatization is a good idea. But, should the proposal move forward, both associations must make it very clear that airports must have a seat at the table -- the current proposed committee to oversee a privatized system gives airports no voice.
Small Community Air Service. Congress should maintain or increase funding for the Essential Air Service and Small Community Air Service Development programs.
Upcoming Pilot Shortage. Congress must work with aviation stakeholders to tackle the impending shortage of commercial airline pilots.
Contract Tower Program. Congress should require FAA to use a fair and balanced cost-benefit analysis before any decisions are made that impact airports that participate in this program.
TSA Regulations. TSA Policy is open to relaxing its current
policy mandating airports to maintain security measures in the Airport Security
Plan (ASP) that go above and beyond minimum federal requirements if meeting
that higher standard is no longer feasible.
An example given was an airport that adopted an enhanced security
measure based on a security grant, but subsequently lost that source of funding
when a new grant was not available.
I hope to see you at the conference at Semiahmoo Resort!Arif Ghouse,