PEORIA, ILL. – Illinois Congressman Darin LaHood hosted a General Aviation Roundtable, August 23, 2016, at Mount Hawley Auxiliary Airport in Peoria, Illinois, to bring together general aviation stakeholders and pilots to discuss the transportation issues facing small airports, rural areas, and the GA community. LaHood partnered with the Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association (AOPA), which represents 9,000 aircraft owners and pilots across Illinois, 750 of whom reside in LaHood’s 18th District.
“General aviation allows businesses to efficiently transport people, goods, and products across the nation, and is therefore responsible for $219 billion in total economic output in the United States and $37 million in the 18th District of Illinois. These pilots and the airports and facilities they utilize connect rural communities with larger hubs of transportation, improving access to medical care and expedited travel,” stated Rep. LaHood. “Today’s tour and forum provided an important opportunity for me to learn how federal government can support the industry as its members facilitate economic growth and job creation. As Congress continues to debate a long-term extension of the Federal Aviation Administration, it is invaluable for me to hear directly from local general aviation pilots to represent their perspective in Washington. Thank you to all who came out to participate.”
In attendance was AOPA Senior Director of Legislative Affairs Scott Verstandig, who shared, “General aviation supports 42,400 jobs and contributes more than $9 billion in output to the Illinois economy, and as a member of the general aviation caucus, Congressman Darin LaHood understands this well. We appreciate Rep. LaHood for taking the time to meet with AOPA members to discuss what can be done to protect and promote general aviation and all its benefits in Illinois.”
Gene Olson, Director of Airports for the Metropolitan Airport Authority of Peoria, also shared his perspective on the importance of the event stating, “I am very pleased and excited that Rep. LaHood met with Central Illinois pilots at the Mt. Hawley Airport today. It shows his interest and support of general aviation and his understanding of the importance of Mt. Hawley to the development and economic health of the Peoria area. Mt. Hawley supports all of the aspects of general aviation activity, including corporate, business, law enforcement, medical, pipe line and power line patrol, flight training, and also recreational flying. With nearly two-thirds of airline pilots coming from the ranks of general aviation, airports like Mt. Hawley are important for economic growth and for the future of tomorrow’s pilots. We extend a hearty thanks to Congressman LaHood and to the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for hosting the event, taking the time to visit the airport, and providing an opportunity for area pilots to provide him with input and feedback.”
Congressman Darin LaHood serves 710,000 constituents across 19 counties throughout Central and West-Central Illinois’ 18th Congressional District.