OLYMPIA - Rep. Tom Dent has introduced three aviation-related bills in an effort to post funding for airports and address the shortage of workers in the industry.
“Our aviation industry is facing a critical pilot shortage,” said Dent, R-Moses Lake. “It is impacting technicians, instructors and other related aviation occupations as well. I am working to find a way to draw more of our young people into aviation careers. This would also grow our rural economic development as we improve our airports and increase employment in this industry.”
As the only professional pilot in the state Legislature, Dent has taken an active interest in aviation issues since being elected in 2014.
House Bill 1455 would address the worker shortage in aeronautics by increasing training and employment of commercial pilots, airline transport pilots, avionics technicians, aircraft maintenance technicians, and certified flight instructors.
House Bill 1456 would create a community aviation revitalization loan program. The legislation was passed last year but vetoed by Gov. Jay Inslee. Dent expects the bill to get through the Legislature again this year.
House Bill 1457 would redirect aircraft fuel tax revenue to assist with air cargo expansion, aviation education and rural economic development.
“This bill would change current distribution of the aircraft fuel retail tax and reallocate one percent of the total tax revenue to the state aeronautics account,” Dent said.
The 105-day legislative session is scheduled to adjourn April 28.