The Kansas State Senate Transportation Committee has tabled a request from the Kansas Department of Transportation to fold the state’s separate Department of Aviation back into the KDOT under the classification of “other.”
Aviation advocacy groups came out so strongly against the proposal that the state’s Secretary of Transportation, Debbie Miller, said she intends to withdraw the bill containing the proposal.
That’s good news for T.W. Anderson, president of the Kansas Association of Airports, who says the proposal came from Miller as a way to make the department more efficient.
“We support the secretary’s efforts to make the department of transportation more efficient, but this is not the way,” he said. “The Kansas Association of Airports has been watching the secretary’s proposal since it appeared two years ago and was bandied about. We see no profit in taking aviation down a step by putting it into the ‘other’ category.”
The proposal would have combined aviation with public transit, railroad and pedestrian transportation. That’s where it was before 1975, says Anderson. In 1975, the separate aviation division was created by the Kansas State legislature.
“When aviation was under the classification of ‘other,’ we didn’t really have a voice and we couldn’t get money for improvements at our airports,” Anderson explained. “It took us decades to get the power and the voice to make our needs heard.”