Press Release


Washington, DC, May 4, 1999 -- Mayor Victor Ashe, Knoxville, Tenn. And Past President of the U. S. Conference of Mayors Actively Supports Passage of Chairman Bud Shuster's (R-PA) "Air-21" Bill, Recently Reported out of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee

As part of a meeting of the "Big Seven Group", the United States Conference of Mayors along with other local government groups discussed the importance of ensuring that revenues collected from air travelers be used for their intended purpose - investment back in the airport system.

"The airport trust fund must be spent on its intended purpose, investing and improving the safety and efficiency of our nation's airports," said Mayor Ashe.

Passenger travel is expected to grow from 665 million passengers in 1998 to more than one billion by 2010, according to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Already more than 25 airports experience over 20,000 hour in flight delays annually. In 1998 alone, there were more than 100 significant FAA outages (those lasting more than 10 minutes) where air traffic controllers lost some of their primary systems, the means by which controllers track aircraft location and flight information.

At the same time, unspent balances in the Aviation Trust Fund are expected to reach nearly $100 billion.

"Our nation must invest in our critical infrastructure system if we are to maintain the economic growth and prosperity that benefits both our citizens and our business community," commented Mayor Ashe.

Last year, the Conference was a leader in passing the "TEA-21" highway and mass-transit bill under the leadership of Mayor Bill Campbell of Atlanta, GA, Chair of the Conference's Transportation Committee. Mayor Campbell has identified aviation as this year's transportation priority and will be taking the issue to the Conference's 67th Annual meeting in New Orleans, June 11-15.

CONTACT: Katie Cullen at 202.293.7330.