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Encourage Senate Conferees to Keep Through-The-Fence Language

April 14, 2011 — EAA members and other aviators have the opportunity to encourage the U.S. Senate to retain House-approved language for residential through-the-fence airport access agreements as the two chambers of Congress work to reconcile a final FAA reauthorization bill.

The House’s version of the bill contained language stating that local airports were not in violation of FAA grant programs if they currently had an active through-the-fence agreement or would sign one in the future. EAA supports this language as a method to grow aviation and offer expanded opportunities for local airports and aviators where appropriate.

The Senate version of the bill does not contain similar language, making the through-the-fence policy one of the many negotiating points between House and Senate conferees.

The nine senators on the bill’s conference committee represent the entire Senate, so a person does not have to live in the senator’s state to be heard. The Senate conferees include:

Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) - http://rockefeller.senate.gov
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA)  - http://boxer.senate.gov
Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) - http://billnelson.senate.gov
Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) - http://cantwell.senate.gov
Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) - http://baucus.senate.gov
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) - http://hutchison.senate.gov
Sen. John Ensign (R-NV)  - http://ensign.senate.gov
Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) - http://demint.senate.gov
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) - http://hatch.senate.gov              
EAA members contacting the senators should remember to keep their messages concise and courteous. Among the key points to make:

Residential through-the-fence arrangements:

  • Have been successful and viable tools for aviation growth for decades;
  • Are best handled through local airport administrators, as a one-size-fits-all national policy can hinder local opportunities for growth;
  • Can save government money by lessening the need for funding to purchase additional airport property while also keeping private property on the local tax rolls;
  • When prohibited or canceled, can mean diminished local property values for those who own and use airport-adjacent properties in conjunction with personal aviation.

EAA will continue to seek support in both houses of Congress for this and other key issues that support and grow GA.


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