By: Paul Gosar
America takes pride in the fact that it is a mobile society. Americans can travel from place to place relatively cheaply and easily in a way that previous generations could never have dreamed and in ways people in other countries can only envy.
In modern times, one of our most important forms of transportation is our aviation system. No other form of transportation can transport people as quickly and inexpensively as our aviation system. Arizonans benefit culturally and socially from this mobility. However, perhaps most importantly in difficult times like this, aviation is absolutely critical for business, the economy, and job creation.
Arizona’s economy as a whole is greatly enhanced by aviation, and this fact is especially true of Arizona’s First Congressional District.
Arizona’s First Congressional District is the largest district in the state. While all districts are roughly equal in population, the First District makes up roughly half of the state’s land mass because it includes the vast majority of Arizona’s rural areas. These areas are some of the most beautiful places in the country where many Arizonans choose to live their lives.
Yet, without transportation to and from these areas, business would be stifled, production of valuable resources would be hampered, and maintaining the great quality of life experienced by many Arizonans who live in these areas would be impractical, if not impossible.
Indeed, our aviation system is central to the district’s economy and way of life. There are over 20 community and rural airports in the district and these are vital to the regional economy. They provide transportation for businessmen and women to come to and from the district and also provide transportation for goods and services to and from the district. Additionally, our aviation system allows for tourists to visit the many beautiful natural and cultural attractions in the district.
Some truly unique opportunities, such as tourism flights over the Grand Canyon, play a central role in the district’s unique character and identity. This sort of tourism is as important to the economy as the goods and services transported out of the district through aviation. So while aviation is important for the state, it is absolutely vital to the people of our district, whom I represent. That is why I am a big supporter of aviation and a member of the Congressional General Aviation Caucus.
Let’s look at the facts: Arizona as a whole benefits enormously from aviation. According to the 2008 Arizona State Airports Systems Plan by the Arizona Department of Transportation, the total economic impact of aviation on the Arizona economy is $38.5 billion. It generates $1.8 billion in tax revenue. Aviation supports 470,000 jobs, paying out $14.7 billion in wages. In addition, there are three Air Force bases in Arizona that likewise bring jobs and extraordinary men and women to our communities.
Arizona’s First Congressional District also benefits in several unique ways from aviation. For example, tourism flights over the Grand Canyon are a major draw for tourists and produce thousands of jobs for Arizonans. Additionally, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott is one of only two aeronautical universities in the nation and has the nation’s only master’s degree program in safety science. As such, ERAU benefits the district both economically and culturally while attracting businesses and students to the district.
The bottom line is that aviation in all its forms, be it business, tourism, entertainment, education, or the military, is uniquely important to Arizona’s First Congressional District. As the U.S. representative of the district, it is my responsibility and privilege to assure that aviation is encouraged and allowed to flourish. The people of Arizona’s First Congressional District would expect no less, and I do not intend to let them down.
Source: THE DAILY COURIER