By Glen Vaagen
February 2, 2011
WASHINGTON, DC — Oregon senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley announced plans Tuesday to introduce an amendment to the FAA reauthorization will that would permit Through the Fence agreements.
TTFs allow residents with homes adjacent to some rural airports to have secured access to runways. Many of these homeowners are amateur pilots who store their planes on their properties, and purchased these houses specifically for the access to the runway. In 2009, the FAA issued a regulation effectively banning new TTFs and limiting existing ones to a 20-year lifespan. Wyden and Merkley say such a move would cause the value of a home near a rural airport to drop, since the major selling point of the property would be lost.
“Through the Fence agreements have been working at airports like Independence for decades,” Wyden said. “They are central not just to the value of these homes but to the flow of goods and services at these regional hubs. Some regulations like this latest FAA rule have unintended consequences and it is up to us to fix them.”
“For many rural communities in Oregon the local airport provides both a transportation link for residents and economic development opportunities for the community,” said Merkley. “The FAA should not change the rules and put small airports and the jobs they support at risk. Continuing to allow our rural airports to partner with local communities with “through the fence” agreements helps keep Oregonians on the job.”
The amendment to the FAA reauthorization bill introduced today will allow TTF agreements to continue in the same safe, secure way they always had.
Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK) is working with Merkley and Wyden on the TTF proposal.