As another legislative session comes to a closure, it becomes time to reflect on the results of the decisions that our elected leaders have made for the upcoming 2019-2021 biennium.
A listing of the results of some of the aviation-related bills that our agency has been following throughout the session. (READ MORE HERE)
To view the full language and final results of these bills and many others, feel free to visit the North Dakota legislative branch website at www.legis.nd.gov to search and view any legislation that was recently considered by your elected officials.
One of the most touted bipartisan pieces of legislation this session was House Bill 1066 which has also been referred to as “Operation Prairie Dog”. The intent of this bill was to provide a certain level of ongoing funding certainty for infrastructure projects throughout the state. This legislation created new “buckets” of state funds that are projected to fill from future oil tax revenues. The newly created funds are currently authorized to fill to $250 million per biennium in total, distributing up to $115 million to cities, $115 million to counties and townships and $20 million for airport infrastructure. It is important to note that an adjustment of the fund amounts can change in future legislative sessions, but the intent was to allow communities to plan for project funding beyond the current biennial window. Our agency is currently anticipating that the airport infrastructure fund will begin to accrue revenue in late 2020 or early 2021. This will allow the funds to be allocated to benefit airport projects starting in the 2021 construction season.
The North Dakota airport system has recently seen unprecedented growth and maintenance requirements and the state’s legislature has stepped up to provide “one-time” infrastructure funding each session since 2013. The recent establishment of the airport infrastructure fund from HB 1066 will greatly help the Aeronautics Commission in our work with the federal government and our local communities to plan, prioritize, and complete projects in a timely manner. The state wants to continue to maintain a leadership role in providing solutions to both maintain and to grow its critical airport infrastructure and watching this landmark legislation come to fruition is truly an exciting and legacy impacting moment for North Dakota aviation.
Upper Midwest Aviation Symposium
I want to thank everyone from the aviation community that was able to make an impact by helping to reach out and educate our decision-makers. Whether you sent an e-mail, made it up to the capitol building to testify on legislation, or were able to attend the Aviation Day at the capitol; your efforts have been noticed and are much appreciated. I also want to thank all of the volunteers and attendees that made this year’s Upper Midwest Aviation Symposium in Bismarck another great success and I hope that you consider marking your calendar for next year’s event which is scheduled to take place in Minot during March 1-3, 2020.
Aviation month in the state of North Dakota
A proclamation from the governor is shown here, as he declared March as Aviation month in the state of North Dakota. The aviation industry in our state has and will continue to be an important part of our communities and we appreciate that our governor is willing to provide a proclamation to help vocalize that message.
Lastly, as summer approaches, I also want to encourage all of you to participate in your local aviation community activities. Whether it’s attending fly-in’s, visiting one of our premier aviation museums, joining one of the aviation council’s volunteer organizations, or flying around the state to fill in your North Dakota passport booklet – there are opportunities all around us to help fulfill and share one’s love of aviation.
Wishing you smooth flying, Kyle