It is extremely encouraging to see the progress being made at the Colorado Springs Airport. The recent announcement of additional service to several new cities is just the latest bit of good news for Colorado Springs, the Pikes Peak region and the entire travel economy of southern Colorado.
The more that the potential of our airport is unlocked, the more it will benefit our city and region. It is important that our aviation laws reflect the most current status of our airports. That’s why I have introduced bipartisan legislation, the 21st Century Small Community Air Service Development Program Act.
Small Community Air Service Development grants provide much-needed boosts for small airports across the country to pay for advertising and other startup costs associated with new airline routes. These grants may only go to airports considered small hubs or smaller by the Federal Aviation Administration. The law authorizing these grants stipulates that only airports considered small hubs in 1997 are eligible for the program. The grants typically range in value from $100,000 to $900,000.
My bill eliminates the current requirement that limits grants to only airports that were classified as small in 1997, thereby allowing the Colorado Springs Airport to receive this classification.
Our airport is a fantastic facility that is making real strides of progress. Faced with the challenge of a large airport within easy driving distance, Aviation Director Greg Phillips, his predecessor Dan Gallagher and the whole airport team have buckled down, cut costs, reduced business taxes, increased enplanements and added businesses on their property. My belief is that this legislation is one more tool that will allow the Colorado Springs Airport to continue its transformation and add more air service to our region.
The importance of a robust local airport to a robust local business climate is essential. Low-tax and low-cost policies attract businesses to locate and hire near the Colorado Springs Airport.
Additionally, an active and thriving airport brings more tourists to our region, makes it easier for businesses to recruit new talent and ensures that easy transportation is available for business development sector professionals to attract additional companies and entrepreneurs.
The 21st Century Small Community Air Service Development Program Act will increase the stature of the Colorado Springs Airport. This bill enjoys the support of both the Majority and Minority leadership in the House and I would anticipate it passing as either a stand-alone bill or as part of an FAA reauthorization by September 2017.
Congressman Doug Lamborn serves as chairman of the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources of the House Committee on Natural Resources. He also serves on the House Armed Services Committee and House Veterans Affairs Committee.