SCAED, the Small Community Airport Economic Development program, focuses on Arizona's small communities and airports. The ultimate goal of the SCAED program is to create jobs in small communities. It is envisioned that airports will be used as a catalyst around which development projects will be designed to attract employers and produce employment opportunities in these communities. The SCAED program is currently in proposal format and has not yet been adopted through legislation.
Criteria were established to identify and select eligible communities for participation in the program. The communities selected in the initial phase of the program include Bullhead City, Casa Grande, Douglas, Flagstaff, Grand Canyon, Kingman, Lake Havasu City, Nogales, Page, Payson, Prescott, Safford, Sedona, Sierra Vista, Winslow, and Yuma.
Roles and market niches were developed for each of these airports based on the economic development dynamics of the communities in which they are located. Facility needs were identified followed by the required projects for each airport/community to produce an estimate of the total funding required. Overall, $181 million is needed to fund projects in the communities. Some of this funding could be secured through airport grants from the FAA and State. Of the $181 million in airport development needs at 17 airports, $71 million would require funding from other sources.
One of the purposes of the SCAED program is to identify possible sources of development funds from which communities might be able to draw upon to fund projects that may not meet FAA and State aviation fund criteria. These sources included Greater Arizona Development Authority (GADA), Highway Extension and Expansion Loan Program (HELP), and Economic Strength Projects Program (ESP). Other federal economic development and infrastructure development programs were also identified as potential supplementary funding sources.
Another revenue source earmarked for this program is the flight property tax that was allocated to the General Fund by the Legislature in 1998. Since fiscal year 1998, half the revenue from the flight property tax has been diverted to the State's General Fund. This program proposes that the revenue going to the General Fund be returned to the State's Aviation Fund and that 33% of the total revenues from the flight property tax be dedicated to funding the SCAED program.
Responsibility for management and administration of the SCAED program will fall to the ADOT Aeronautics Division. The program and concept were presented recently to the Vision 21 Task Force charged with studying the State's transportation needs in the next century.