The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) is strongly opposed to S.4333 and A.5523 as the proposed legislation is unnecessary, inefficient, and sets a bad precedent for other cities and towns int the state. This legislation would require a public vote prior to the East Hampton airport accepting federal or state funding for airport projects. It is unnecessary; as the airport sponsor, East Hampton already has the authority to implement the condition of a referendum prior to acceptance of federal or state aid. Additionally, the township maintains the ability to consciously decide to forego receiving any federal grants. There is no requirement that an airport sponsor MUST accept airport grants of any form.
Furthermore, no other municipality in New York requires a public referendum to accept grant money for airport projects. Nor is a referendum required for similar public infrastructure projects such a s a public highway, road or other utility. It is generally understood that requiring a vote prior to funding utility projects is inefficient, possible unsafe, and ill advised.
Airport grants such as those from the FAA airport improvement program are safety based, requiring prompt action on the part of airport sponsors to comply with federal and state safety standards. Delaying an airport sponsor's ability to receive federal funding may also result in the temporary closure of the airport. In addition to lost revenues following any closure, federal and state agencies may levy fines for failure to comply with log established safety standards, further burdening the municipality's residents.
This proposal is a wolf in sheep's clothing that serves only to handicap local authority. No other municipality requires a public referendum to accept financial aid for airports or similar public infrastructure projects. Lastly, they implication of a state law to mandate a public referendum to accept financial aid for airports or similar public infrastructure projects. Lastly the implication of a state law to mandate a public referendum for safety improvements on airports may ultimately jeopardize public safety. This policy is unnecessary for East Hampton and sets a bad precedent for the state of New York. For these reasons and others, AOPA opposes S.4333 / A.5523
The East Hampton (HTO) Airport on Long Island, New York is an important part of New York State's system of airports. The 2010 New York State Department of Transportation Statewide Economic Impact Study credits HTO with producing 91 jobs. The aiport generates approximately $6 million in annual earnings, and produces a total annual economic impact of more that $12.6 million. Designated as a Regional / Corprate Business Aiport by New York Department of Transporation, HTO is home to more that 100 based aircraft, averaging more that 25,000 general aviation operations annually.
Since 1939 , AOPA has been committed to enduring the safety, future viability, and development of general aviaton as an integral part of our national transportation system. Plese contact AOPA Eastern Regional Manager Sean Collins at sean,collins@aopa,org or by calling (301) 695-2090.