“This will be the second-best bill you’ll get to vote on this session,” Rep. Tom Dent (R-13) told colleagues on April 11. “It’s designed for our small airports to become more self-sustaining. The program has been extremely popular.”
The legislation completes a multi-year effort to preserve the Community Aviation Revitalization Loan Program that was first created via SSB 6090 in the 2018 capital budget then given a $5 million appropriation. Another bill introduced that session creating a permanent Community Aviation Revitalization Board (CARB) was vetoed by Governor Jay Inslee. However, the loan program was preserved through additional capital budget appropriations while legislation to create a permanent board failed to pass.
In addition to port authorities and small airport managers, the state Commercial Aviation Coordinating Commission (CACC) also recommended extending the program. One of its benefits is that it allows airports to use the funds for a greater variety of projects than allowed under the Washington State Department of Transportation’s (WSDOT) Airport Aid Grants.
The bill creates a board composed of members that include:
- Five members appointed by WSDOT to represent ports, counties, cities, airport managers, and pilots;
- A WSDOT Aviation Division representative;
- A Public Works Board representative; and
- A Community Economic Revitalization Board non-legislative member.
The Senate president has signed the bill which now requires Inslee’s signature. The bill takes effect June 30.