Washington, DC—Today, the Alliance for Aviation Across America announced that Mayor Barbara Tolbert of Arlington, Washington and Bob Brock, Director of Aviation and unmanned aerial systems (UAS) for the Kansas Department of Transportation, have joined the Alliance’s board of directors.
“We are thrilled that Mayor Tolbert and Bob Brock have joined our board of directors and welcome their extensive experience and passion for aviation, including general aviation,” said Ed Bolen, President and CEO of the National Business Aviation Association and president of the Alliance’s board of directors. “We also appreciate their expertise and recognition of critical areas of growth for the industry, including the development of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF), and advanced air mobility (AAM) infrastructure and vehicles, all of which will help to boost our economy and ensure a growing and diverse aviation workforce.”
Bob Brock joined the Kansas Department of Transportation as the first state director for UAS after a 22-year career in the Air Force. Barbara Tolbert is the mayor of the City of Arlington, a pilot, and has been involved in the aviation business for decades.
Alliance board member and President and CEO of the National Air Transportation Association, Timothy Obitts, stated: “We welcome Mr. Brock and Mayor Tolbert to the board, and are honored to partner with them to build federal support and promote awareness about general aviation, industry commitments to sustainability, and the importance of these investments to our long-term economic growth.”
Arlington is the most recent city to pass a proclamation recognizing the value of general aviation. Over the past five years, there have been hundreds of state and local proclamations issued throughout the country, and more than 60 of those have highlighted the importance of industry commitments to sustainability, emerging technologies and workforce. These commitments will help the business aviation industry to reach its goal of net zero emissions by 2050.
“I am honored to serve on the board of directors for the Alliance for Aviation Across America,” said Mayor Barbara Tolbert. “Creating a future for aviation supported by these exciting, new technologies is important for our environment and our communities, as well as for jobs and economic growth. We are proud to join cities and towns across the country in highlighting the importance of this sector for our economy.”
The announcement comes as a recent U.S. House of Representatives’ bill entitled The “Advanced Aviation Infrastructure Modernization Act, or H.R.6270, which would help to spur innovation by offering grants for the development of AAM infrastructure, recently passed out of the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure. The “National Centers for Advancement of Aviation Act of 2022, H.R.3482, was also approved by the Committee, and would establish a National Center for the Advancement of Aviation and support resources to high school and collegiate curriculum developers to grow the future aviation workforce. In addition, the “Sustainable Skies Act,” or H.R.3440 and S.2263, was recently introduced that would offer tax incentives for SAF production.
“This is an exciting time for general aviation, and I am proud to join with leaders and members of the Alliance and others to support investments in AAM, including new takeoff and landing facilities known as ‘vertiports’ and communications architecture which will bring these operations directly to communities, leverage existing multimodal facilities and transit hubs, help to reduce noise and congestion, and improve access for communities to critical services,” said Bob Brock.
By 2035, the AAM market in the United States is expected to reach $115 billion per year and employ more than 280,000 high-paying jobs. In addition, general aviation supports over 1.1 million jobs and over $247 billion in economic impact, as well as medical care, disaster relief, and many critical services for communities.
The Alliance for Aviation Across America, and many other national and local groups, partnered to launch futureofaviation.org, which highlights the importance of these investments in SAF and AAM. In addition, more information on the economic impact of general aviation can be found here.
The Alliance for Aviation Across America (AAAA) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit, national grassroots coalition of over 7,000 aviation and non-aviation groups and individuals across the country, including businesses, FBOs, small airports, elected officials, agricultural and charitable organizations, and leading industry and aviation groups. Formed in 2007, the organization is dedicated to spreading awareness and educating the public about the value of general aviation and local airports.