Airport fund to be repaid by state
State Senator Scott Dibble, Chair of the Senate Transportation and Public Safety Committee expressed pleasure that, along with the payback of budget shifts to Minnesota schools, the State Airport Fund will be repaid $15 million that had twice been taken from it and placed in the General Fund. This repayment is made possible by the forecasted $1.08 billion budget surplus for fiscal year 2014-15, according to Minnesota’s Management and Budget agency.
In 2003, $15 million was transferred from the State Airport Fund to the General Fund to plug a budget hole. Despite the return of those dollars five years later, the very same transfer occurred immediately, absent any debate or scrutiny, in a private eleventh hour deal. As the primary state funding source for aeronautics, the Fund is crucial to both the capital improvements and the day-to-day operations of Minnesota’s 135 airports. The pilfering of this fund was harmful not only to airport operations, but to the trust airport users and airport communities had in state government.
Senate Transportation and Public Safety Committee Chair Scott Dibble (DFL – Minneapolis) released the following statement:
“After years of mismanagement of Minnesota’s budget from poor fiscal practices that included dozens of shifts and gimmicks, the honest and transparent budget we adopted this year will allow us to fully pay back the shift from the State Airport Fund."