Funding Airports & Aeronautics In Minnesota

by Christopher Roy – Director

In my column in the last issue, I spoke about various airport projects in Minnesota and how the funding comes about, but it is equally important that everyone understands where our funding comes from. So I am re-sharing that information with you in order to reduce or eliminate any misunderstanding and confusion about Minnesota’s funding.

The Aeronautics Office is funded from the State Airports Fund. The State Airports Fund receives revenue from four principle sources: Airflight Property Tax, Aviation Fuel Tax, aircraft registration, and investment income. This income provides us with the money to provide services to Minnesota’s air transportation system and to run the Office of Aeronautics.

The Airflight Property Tax is that tax paid by the airlines in lieu of other taxes on their flight property, such as aircraft and aircraft parts, (Minn. Stat. 270.075(1)).

The Aviation Fuel Tax is the tax applied to each gallon of aviation fuel in a graduated (sliding) formula according to the amount of fuel purchased, (Minn. Stat. 296A.17 (3) (1-4)).

Aircraft Registration: Aircraft owners pay an aircraft registration fee in lieu of other taxes on an aircraft, (Minn. Stat 360.018 subd 1(1)).

Investment income is derived from monies in the State Airports Fund that are invested by the State Board of Investments. [Minn. Stat. 360.017].

Airport projects may be funded federally if the project meets certain criteria. State money may be available for airport projects. For an airport to be eligible for any state funding, the airport must be included in the state airport system, publicly owned, and open to the public. It must also be licensed by the State, and zoned in accordance with Minnesota Statutes.

The mission of the Mn/DOT Office of Aeronautics is to promote aviation and enhance aviation safety by assuming a leadership role. This is accomplished by providing innovative educational, and technical and financial assistance for developing and maintaining an excellent and safe air transportation system. We do this proudly, for the social and economic benefit of all Minnesota citizens.

Finally, I want to remind everyone that General Aviation is alive and growing. While the various reports one might read indicate a variety of reasons why GA is growing slowly, it is none-the-less growing. The spirit of aviation has not waivered during the economic downturns we have all experienced. This spirit can be clearly seen at air events like the one at Oshkosh, Wisconsin, in 2010, where more than 10,000 aircraft flew in, including those that landed at several other eastern Wisconsin airports, for the sole purpose of experiencing Oshkosh!

There were 2,380 showplanes, including 1,106 homebuilt aircraft, 635 vintage airplanes, 374 warbirds, 115 ultralights, 120 seaplanes, and even 30 rotorcraft! Now that is aviation spirit!

Please remember to make safety your number one priority as you prepare for the spring flying season.

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