Airport Operators, Aerospace & Aviation Business Owners, Pilots, and Friends,
I am very pleased to announce that during the last week of the legislative session, Governor Kevin Stitt signed House Bill 2900 into law. This was the state’s general appropriations bill for the 2021 legislative session, and included in it was an appropriation of $2,000,000 to the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission for investment in airport infrastructure. This is monumental news for the agency given that we haven’t received an appropriation since the 80s and 90s.
It takes a team to get things like this accomplished, and I’m certainly proud of the Commission staff that worked both on the front lines and behind the scenes to secure an appropriation of this magnitude. I am also proud of the efforts that each of you contributed to this monumental effort. Airports, pilots, and aviation enthusiasts across the state have helped to spread the good message of what this industry can do, and more importantly, communicating the infrastructure needs that our airports have in order to maintain their status as economic drivers in their communities.
As many of you know, the agency has spent years advocating for an appropriation for aerospace programs such as the CADSQ and OAI missions as well as for airport infrastructure. It is no small feat for an agency like ours to get additional funds from the legislature. This is not only indicative of the work the agency has done but a reflection of the airport community that has supported us in our efforts for years, as well as the overall success the aviation and aerospace industry has provided for the state. The relationships that our airport community, as well as our industry partners, have worked on for years were invaluable to the success of our effort this year.
It was certainly hard work to get us to this point, but the work is just beginning. This will not be a one and done effort, it will be a continual evolution that will need to be fostered to ensure that the needs of Oklahoma airports will be met to further grow and expand aviation and aerospace in Oklahoma communities. While we were championing this effort at the Capitol one of the key pieces of infrastructure that stood out to lawmakers was our need for hangars and other vertical infrastructure improvements at airports to support additional economic growth opportunities. With this extra funding, we will be looking to potentially start the OAC Hangar Program as well as invest in additional infrastructure projects that support economic development initiatives at airports. This is just the start as we hope to grow our investment in airports in the years to come.
Lastly, when you see your legislators this summer, make sure to thank them for their great support of OAC and your airport.
Thank you for all that you have done to contribute to our successes and I look forward to continuing our partnerships as we head down this flight path. Wishing clear skies and tailwinds to everyone!
State Director of Aeronautics