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ODOT examining GA airports

January 15, 2013, 01:23 pm

The Ohio Department of Transportation is looking to streamline aviation services at the state's smaller airports. The department is visiting 97 publicly funded general aviation airport's to study their impact on their immediate communities, as well as their problems and ways in which they can improve.

“This study will result in a process by which ODOT and the FAA will be able to optimize investment in Ohio's airport system with an eye toward safety, efficiency and economic growth,” said ODOT Spokesman Steve Faulkner. “The study will identify needed system improvements, develop a framework for prioritizing those projects, and assess the economic contribution of each airport to the state's economy.”

ODOT's Airport Focus study will look for answers from airport's, pilots and the public to help them through the process.ODOT has already visited Springfield, Cambridge and Findlay. The department will be heading to Delaware on January 15, as well as Ohio State University airport, Bolton Field and Delaware-Municipal-Jim Moore Field soon after.

The ODOT study will primarily look to inform funding on future decisions, like when runways might need renovation or whether security fencing needs to be in place.

Ohio Governor John Kasich named December General Aviation Appreciation month, highlighting general aviation's impact in the sate. Kasich said that general aviation contributes $5.5 billion to Ohio each year and helps critical services operate, including law enforcement, medical providers, fire fighting, local businesses and other resident needs. General aviation nationwide contributes $150 billion to the U.S. economy and supports 1.2 million jobs.

Earlier this month, 15 Ohio mayors sent a letter to President Barack Obama over concernsregarding the $100 user fee for general aviation flights.

"As you know well, the vast majority of businesses and organizations that own and utilize general aviation are not wealthy CEOs," read the joint letter from the Ohio mayors. "Rather, 85% are small to mid-sized businesses and organizations that rely on these aircraft to reach far-off plants and customers, serve rural markets without access to commercial aviation, or deliver medical care and other services. We can tell you firsthand that these aircraft are a crucial tool and resource for businesses in our communities; businesses that keep our communities afloat and help workers to be able to continue to put food on their table for their families."

Those in the general aviation community are encouraged to safeguard their own financial future with pilot life insurance.

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