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Senate approves bills supporting MI’s small, rural airports

Senator Wayne Schmidt

Senator Wayne Schmidt

LANSING, Mich. – Airports in the state would receive state funding to help with repair and maintenance costs under legislation approved by the state Senate on Thursday.

“This is a matter of fairness,” said Schmidt, R-Traverse City. “The legislation makes sure Michigan’s airports – including those in Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula – receive the needed funding for routine maintenance and repairs.”

The legislation, introduced by Sens. Wayne Schmidt and Goeff Hansen, would better manage the way aviation fuel taxes are collected and appropriated in the state. The reforms would ensure dollars collected from the state’s aviation industry go toward supporting the aviation industry by redirecting existing sales and use tax on aviation fuel to a new aeronautics fund. The new fund would appropriate to the state’s airports via a formula based on volume of air traffic and resources used.

“As chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, I’ve fought to secure additional dollars in this year’s budget for the airport improvement program to help support projects at our local airports,” said Hansen, R-Hart. “Passage of this legislation will create a reliable, dedicated funding source for the State Aeronautics Fund that will ensure the continued safety and efficiency of Michigan’s aviation system.”

Senate Bills 418, 425, 426, 612 and 614, sponsored by Schmidt, and SB 613, sponsored by Hansen, now go to the House of Representatives for consideration.