The Senate Appropriations Committee has approved a transportation funding bill that includes projects to improve airport facilities at the Salt Lake International Airport and other municipal airports throughout the state, said Sen. Jake Garn, R-Utah.
Garn said the committee has approved the fiscal year 1989 Department of Transportation and Related Agencies Appropriation bill. He also expressed optimism about how Congress is moving ahead with key funding bills, saying it shows signs of finishing work on the bills before the end of the fiscal year."For too many years, Congress has postponed action on these bills and missed nearly every appropriations deadline," Garn said. "We have set a terrible example for the country in fiscal responsibility. Finally Congress is showing some signs of responsibility. And, we appear to be on schedule to pass all 13 appropriations bills by Oct. 1."
The transportation appropriation bill includes funding for instrument landing systems at both the Salt Lake City International Airport and the Ogden Municipal Airport. The committee appropriated $20 million to finance the acquisition and installation of the systems and approach-lighting equipment to improve safety at many of the nation's airports.
"Both Salt Lake and Ogden airports will receive a portion of this fund," Garn said.
Last year, the Salt Lake Airport received $2.5 million to acquire an instrument landing system. This year's appropriation bill would provide funds to operate and maintain the system once it is installed. Because of limited funds in last year's budget, the request for Ogden's improvements was not appropriated.
Garn persuaded the committee to go on record as recognizing the increased air activity in the Ogden area and reiterated his concern about the lack of precision landing capability at the airport.
"This system will not only help to enhance safety around the Ogden airport, but it will attract more business to the airport and increase tourism in the area," he said. "The instrument landing system will also equip the airport to properly serve as a `reliever' airport to the Salt Lake airport."
The committee also appropriated $10 million to continue the Salt Lake light-rail project. These funds will be used by the Utah Transit Authority and the Wasatch Regional Council to purchase the right of way now owned by the Union Pacific Railroad, which runs roughly parallel to I-15.
Last year, Congress appropriated $3.6 million for preliminary engineering studies of a light-rail system from downtown Salt Lake City to 106th South.
Garn also said he was pleased with the language in the committee's bill requiring the Federal Aviation Administration to hold a public meeting before establishing any future terminal control areas. The FAA has proposed establishing a terminal control area in Salt Lake City, which would restrict access to the air space in the Salt Lake Valley.
"We have a lot of general aviation pilots in Utah, especially in Salt Lake City, whose activities could be significantly curtailed if a Terminal Control Area were established," Garn said.