URGENT!!!       URGENT!!!       URGENT!!!

Since January 2016, SCAA has been diligently working on legislation to secure state funding for airport improvement and maintenance projects along with support from AOPA. Bill H. 5001 includes an appropriation of $7 million, half of which is needed to match anticipated FAA grants in excess of $60 million.  These grant offers will be made during the next 2 months.  Without this appropriation, local airport sponsors will be required to match 100% more than budgeted to obtain 90% FAA funding.  H.5001 recently received overwhelming support by both the House and the Senate.  We were just notified that the Governor vetoed our appropriation and that the House and Senate will be reconvening tomorrow at noon and 3:00 pm, respectively to consider an override of the Governor’s veto.


Therefore each of you please contact your SC State House Member (prior to noon) and your SC State Senator (prior to 3:00 pm) and urge them to override the veto of H.5001 section 118.16 (B)(50)(b) titled State Aviation Fund. 


You can find your legislators’ phone numbers by via the following link http://www.scstatehouse.gov/index.php.  Talking points are provided below, should you need them.


Talking Points:

  • The budget request from the Aeronautics Commission through the Executive Budget Office, the House of Representatives, and the Senate included a $5,000,000 State Aviation Fund request, and support for a bill that would direct money from the Airline Property Tax to the State Aviation Fund.
  • The reasoning for the dual request is two-fold: immediate needs and long-term planning.
    • The immediate needs for the next fiscal year is anticipated to be $5,000,000 for capital improvement projects and maintenance of South Carolina public use airports.  Part of the appropriation ($3,400,000) is planned to be matching funds for Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grants worth over $60,000,000.  The immediate needs cannot be met with the current cash balance of the State Aviation Fund because most of the funds have already been committed to projects that are still open.  Due to the timing of the FAA grants, state matching funds need to be available during the first quarter of the new state fiscal year so that our airport sponsors (counties and municipalities who own and operate SC airports) can secure the federal grants.  If the money is not available during the first quarter, SC airports have to either double their local match or refuse the FAA grant, and if the FAA grant is refused, the funds will be given to another state.
    • In addition to the grant matching needs, $1,600,000 is planned for maintenance and administrative support of the South Carolina Airports System.  These expenses are spread over the entire fiscal year, but if some of the funds are not immediately available, then critical maintenance will be postponed therefore causing additional safety concerns for airport users.
    • The long-term plans are to have an appropriation that meets the entire needs of the upcoming fiscal year, therefore allowing any fuel sales tax revenues and H.4577 revenues that are realized to be placed into the State Aviation Fund for the following fiscal year.  By having a State Aviation Fund cash balance that has enough uncommitted funds for an entire fiscal year, the Aeronautics Commission can make plans that continue to support the needs of the Airports System while not jeopardizing safety and capacity.  The $7,000,000 appropriation will allow the Aeronautics Commission to meet all of the upcoming fiscal year’s needs, and will also allow a $2,000,000 rollover of uncommitted funds for the following fiscal year.  If the rollover occurs, and the fuel sales taxes and H.4577 revenues also rollover, then the Aeronautics Commission will not have to return to the legislature to beg for funds to meet the needs of the Airports System.  At that point in time, the system should be fairly self-sustaining and run per the guidelines set forth by the legislature for the execution of the State Aviation Fund.