ATLANTA — Georgia’s 104 general-aviation airports provide a $137 million annual tax revenue, according to figures the Department of Transportation released Thursday.
They support an estimated 471,000 jobs paying a total of $17.8 billion, according to a study the department commissioned last year. That’s more jobs than the University of Georgia’s calculations tied to the imports and exports through the ports of Savannah and Brunswick.
While many of the planes in these smaller, local airports are operated for pleasure, a number provide transportation for business executives.
The department cites a survey of Georgia companies in which proximity to an airport ranked among the top 10 factors in their decision on where to locate.
“Investing in Georgia’s airports has a high rate of return,” said Transportation Commissioner Keith Golden. “We strive to maximize every dollar we receive in this area to constantly improve our aviation facilities. This study shows the true economic impact our airports provide for citizens.”
Georgia budgets $2 million yearly to general-aviation airports, about one-tenth the amount spent by the 10 biggest-spending states, according to the department.
Its announcement comes as voters are considering a statewide referendum on boosting the sales tax 1 percent for transportation projects tailored to each of 12 districts. District leaders could include airport improvements in their list of proposed projects.
The DOT’s press release included a notation about the vote.
“In districts where the referendum passes, the Department of Transportation will be responsible for project delivery. An independent study ranked Georgia’s DOT first in the country in on-budget project delivery and second in on-time delivery,” the release stated. “Project delivery is what Georgia DOT does. Referendum projects assigned to the department will be completed on time and on budget.”
Source: MORRIS NEWS SERVICE