Concerned about protecting airport and aviation infrastructure funding, eight aviation organizations have formed the Utah Aviation Coalition to strengthen their collective general aviation advocacy efforts at the state level. Participants include groups such as the Utah Business Aviation Association (UBAA), Utah Airport Operators Association (UAOA), Utah General Aviation Association (UGAA), and Utah Back Country Pilots Association.
“We wanted to have a bigger voice in the state, in particular with regard to how state aviation funds are allocated,” said Rich Stehmeier, chairman of UAOA. “One of our key goals is to make sure that the money in the aviation fund, which is supposed to be restricted to aviation interests, is used properly.”
The coalition has already begun to work with state legislators regarding the need to protect aviation funds, as well as how the state would pay for potential aircraft purchases under consideration, according to UBAA chairman Jeff Hansen. “The business aviation community in Utah needs more resources at small airports,” he said. “Having adequate funds for runway extensions, other airport improvements, pilot resources, and more will help both aviation interests, as well as the local communities who rely on their services.”
UBAA earlier had expressed concern about the state eying use of aviation registration fees to help offset deficits at its flight department rather than airports. UBAA had added that smaller airports have limited access to other funding.
“The leaders of the aviation associations in the state of Utah have spearheaded this collective dialogue around common goals and interests that can only serve to enhance what is already a robust aviation community within the state, while also supporting local airports and infrastructure,” said Kristi Ivey, NBAA’s Northern Mountain regional representative.