On Dec. 16, the eve of the Centennial of Flight, President
George W. Bush signed into law the U.S. Department of Transportations
Federal Aviation Administrations four-year, $60 billion
dollar reauthorization bill, Vision 100 The Century
of Aviation Act.
Vision 100 strengthens
Americas aviation sector, provides needed authority
to the FAA and enhances the safety of the traveling public.
The bill provides
$14 billion dollars for airport construction projects, $140
million dollars to assist small communities in attracting
and retaining air service, $308 million dollars to ensure
air service to isolated communities, and $2 billion dollars
to create more efficient security screening at airports.
Vision 100 provides
a new source of funding for important environmental and clean
air initiatives at airports. The bill also includes an important
pilot project that will allow the FAA to work collaboratively
with the airlines to reduce delays at the nations most
congested airports.Founded in 1931, the National Association
of State Aviation Officials (NASAO) is one of the most senior
aviation organizations in the United States, predating even
the Federal Aviation Administrations predecessor, the
Civil Aeronautics Authority.
The states first
established NASAO to ensure uniformity of safety measures,
to standardize airport regulations and develop a truly national
air transportation system responsive to local, state, and
Since 1931, NASAO
has been unique among aviation advocates. Unlike special interest
groups, which speak for a single type of aeronautical activity
or a narrow band of the rich spectrum of the American aviation
community, NASAO represents the men and women, in state government
aviation agencies, who serve the public interest in all 50
states, Guam and Puerto Rico.
These highly skilled
professionals are full partners with the federal government
in the development and maintenance of the safest and most
efficient aviation system in the world.
organize, promote, and fund a wide variety of aviation programs
across the nation. All states develop statewide aviation system
plans and airport capital improvement plans. The states invest
about $450 million annually in planning, operations, infrastructure
development, maintenance, and navigational aids at 5,000 airports
across the country.
Many states also
build, own, and operate their own airports. Each year, state
aviation officials conduct safety inspections at thousands
of public-use airports. Countless aviation activities including
statewide meetings, airport symposiums, pilot safety seminars,
and aviation education forums are also organized annually
by the states.
The role of state
programs and the responsibilities of the state aviation agencies
are expanding. In 1996, Congress made the state block grant
program permanent. As a result, nine states are already fully
responsible for directly administering federal Airport Improvement
Program funds. In an era of declining federal budgets and
downsized government programs, the states involvement
in aviation is growing.
In 1986, the non-profit
NASAO Center for Aviation Research and Education was created
to "enhance the public good through an increasingly safe
air transportation system." It is also a major participant
in the International Aviation Art Contest for children and
other aviation education efforts.
The NASAO Washington
staff presents the views of the states to Congress and the
Administration, and works closely with the Department of Transportation,
the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Transportation
Research Board, and the American Association of State Highway
and Transportation Officials.
It is also the
only organization of its type to have an official Memorandum
of Understanding with the Federal Aviation Administration.
The staff maintains strong relationships with all aviation
groups and similar associations such as the National Governors
Association, the Southern Governors Association, and the National
Conference of State Legislatures.