FRANKFORT, Ky. – “Building Kentucky’s Aviation Future” is what Governor Ernie Fletcher stressed at the 31st Kentucky Aviation Conference today. Governor Fletcher spoke to a crowd of more than 250 aviation professionals from across the state at the Center for Rural Development in Somerset.
Governor Fletcher began his address to the crowd with personal stories about his experiences as an Air Force pilot. He expressed his keen appreciation for aviation and emphasized that airports are crucial to Kentucky’s economic development.
“This administration is setting new heights for Kentucky aviation,” Governor Fletcher said. “We are dedicating state funding to make much needed improvements to our airports, and we are aggressively working with our federal delegation in Washington to get federal dollars for many upgrades at aviation facilities across the state.
“When we improve our aviation network, we positively impact economic development opportunities,” the Governor said.
Under the Governor’s leadership, Kentucky has worked with the federal government to secure funding for aviation infrastructure.
Approximately $46 million in federal funds has been utilized this year at Kentucky’s three largest commercial airports – the Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport, Louisville International Airport and Bluegrass Field, in Lexington.
In addition, $7 million in state funding and $24 million in federal funding has been invested in improvements at Kentucky’s general aviation airports. Investments include 11 new airport terminals.
“These new terminals are a huge step forward for these cities and counties,” said Governor Fletcher. “All of these improvements being planned will allow communities around the state to improve their local economy and compete for industry in order to bring new jobs into their regions.
“It’s all about quality of life for the citizens of the Commonwealth. We simply must have good airport infrastructure in order to compete in the new, fast-moving economy of the 21st century,” the Governor said.
The aviation conference provides insight on aviation at the national level and the impact of aviation in Kentucky. The conference also addresses such issues as airport safety and security, airport insurance, airport business plans, community relations and aviation education initiatives. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s Department of Aviation co-hosts the event with the Kentucky Aviation Association.
In addition to Governor Fletcher, speakers at this year’s conference include Congressman Hal Rogers, Transportation Secretary Bill Nighbert, Department of Aviation Commissioner Paul Steely, Federal Aviation Administration representatives and Transportation Security Administration representatives. The conference concludes Friday.