IT IS THEREFORE RESOLVED THAT AUMA advocate for the Government of Alberta to consider review and institution of an aviation fuel fee in order to attribute a portion of the cost of community airports directly to the user.
WHEREAS the Province of Alberta has established the Community Airport Program to assist with the funding of existing network of public use community airports;
WHEREAS the Community Airport Program provided $2 million in funding in 2018 to be divided between 72 paved airports within Alberta, but this funding is not secure and is determined within each Provincial Budget year;
WHEREAS the cost of funding a community airport far surpasses amounts provided by the Community Airport Program, leaving municipalities with a considerable funding shortfall; and
WHEREAS the burden of that funding shortfall is borne by the municipal ratepayer.
Community Airports are a necessary part of the transportation, economic and emergency services infrastructure which support the success of Albertan industry and residents. Community Airports support regional fire suppression, timely and safe medical evacuation operations, and are hubs supporting local economic development and linkage to our resource-based economy. A lack of adequate and secure funding jeopardizes the ability for these assets to be properly maintained in the most cost effective, long-term manner undermining the success of these facilities and the regional stakeholders which rely on an ever-increasing need for air-based mobility and linkages. This issue affects facilities throughout Alberta with over 72 paved airports competing for funds which are neither sufficient to address the costs of these programs nor secured in a manner which allows for efficient long-term planning and budgeting at the local and regional partnership level.
AUMA does not have a current policy position on this specific issue. Previously, AUMA advocated for the resumption of the Strategic Transportation Infrastructure Program (STIP) following its termination in 2013. Since its reinstatement in 2015, STIP has been the core program which funds the Community Airport Program. In 2012 AUMA also called for the full implementation of the Alberta Small Airport Strategy and specifically noted the importance of providing funding to airports to address the serious need for capital improvement.