Mica Keynote Tops Off Airport Finance Conference Agenda
Posted by Sean Broderick
Each late winter for more than two decades, airport finance and administration professionals have gathered somewhere in AAAE’s Southeast Chapter region–usually in Florida–to talk about what’s going on that is relevant to them. This week, the event–tucked neatly between The Great American Race and Bike Week–rolled into Daytona.
Besides being home to a wonderful airport and a pretty well-known aviation university, Daytona also is in Florida’s 7th Congressional District. Hill wonks know that for the last two decades, Florida’s 7th has been synonymous with one name: John Mica.
Mica helped make a stellar agenda even better by agreeing to keynote the 23rd Annual Airport Finance & Administration Conference, kicking off Monday’s proceedings with a 30-minute, impromptu discussion of what’s happening—and what should be happening–aviation-wise, in Washington.
Mica, who is chairman of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, touched on the long-awaited and recently completed FAA Reauthorization bill. While expressing satisfaction the the bill’s mere existence (the industry went four years and 23 extensions without a long-term bill), he lamented the hold on the $4.50 PFC cap.
“It is unfair not to adjust that,” Mica told a packed ballroom of 185, including representatives from about 70 airports. “Airlines did the wrong thing in their opposition…We have to expand the infrastructure that you [airport leaders] are all responsible for.” (We couldn’t have said it better ourselves–though we’ve tried.)
While the bill is finalized, Mica noted that he “doesn’t think the [PFC] issue is dead.”
Mica also touted one of his champion causes–NextGen. Moving forward isn’t simply a necessity for our National Airspace System, he said–it’s a huge driver in helping keep the U.S. aerospace industry’s stature as a global leader.
“The aviation industry actually accounts for the largest percent of our exports,” Mica reminded attendees. “Whoever wins NextGen ATC development will lead the world, and that will create business for decades and generations. So there’s a lot at stake in getting this done, and getting it done right.”
(Photo, from left to right: Daytona Beach International Airport (DBIA) Finance Manager Tammy Maron, Congressman John Mica (R-FL), DBIA Director of Aviation & Economic Resources Rick Karl, and DBIA Director of Airport Services Karen Feaster. DBIA officials secured Mica to speak at this week’s AAAE/Southeast Chapter AAAE Airport Finance & Administration conference, which the airport hosted.)