From the Director's Desk
It is important that you know ...
You, as an aviator, aviation administrator or manager, or an aviation supporter need to know how your aviation tax dollars are put to work for you in Minnesota. You also need to care about and understand how the Airport Improvement Program (AIP) impacts aviation throughout Minnesota. These things are vitally important to aviation across the State and the Nation.
First, there are three main sources of state aeronautics funding. Each source is a tax on aviation-related activities. The dollars come from aircraft registration tax, aviation fuel tax, and Airline flight property tax. These three funding sources provide approximately $18 million dollars annually that are dedicated monies spent only on aviation related projects and programs. The State's Airport Fund is the primary funding source for MnDOT Aeronautics.
Additionally, Minnesota receives an average of $60 million per year in federal dollars via the Airport Improvement Program (AIP). The AIP provides federal grants-in-aid for planning and constructing projects such as runways, taxiways, buildings, lighting and navigational systems at our airports. Aeronautics is the channeling source for these Federal funds.
Of the State's 135 publicly owned/operated airports, 38 are eligible only for State funds, while 97 are eligible to receive Federal dollars via the AIP and may also receive State funds. The 97 airports eligible for AIP funds are part of the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS).
One very important issue for this Federal Congressional session is the AIP. Keep in mind that (even if your airport is not eligible for Federal dollars), the more Federal dollars available via the AIP the more it will help to potentially make more State dollars available to non-federally eligible airports.
Another important issue is the Minnesota Governor's budget. When approved, Aeronautics will receive a portion of the $15 million that was taken for the general fund during the budget shortfall. The portion that will be returned will allow us to commit to some additional aviation projects in the 2016-17 Biennium. So when you talk to your local leaders, let them know you support the Federal AIP program and the Governor's budget proposals for Minnesota.
As I close this column today I will share one final thought. Please invite me to come to your airport meeting whether with the airport Commission or Board, the EAA, a fly-in or another important aviation event. I look forward to the opportunity to answer questions about what we are doing to get money out there to benefit your airport. It also gives me a chance to meet you face to face, and you have an additional opportunity to share valuable update information that will help us do an even better job for YOU!
- Cassandra Isackson
Director, Office of Aeronautics