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Mon, May 09, 2005

Colorado Legislators Boost Aviation

Bill Waiting On Governor.

Colorado legislators in both the house and senate have passed a bill offering economic incentives for aircraft manufacturers in the state. The bill will take effect on New Year's Day if approved by Gov. Bill Owens.

Rep. Alice Borodkin, D-Denver, and Sen. Lewis Entz, R-Hooper sponsored the bipartisan bill. It will create economic development zones at airports across the state, qualifying aircraft companies for up to $1,200 in tax credits for each new job created. Companies who register with the state and employ more than nine workers can save up to $2 million annually.

Colorado wants to compete with New Mexico and Utah for aviation companies. The supporters of the bill believe that it could create up to 1,000 new jobs.

"Air transportation in all its forms, including manufacturing, is one of our nine employment clusters where we have a great opportunity to grow jobs in metro Denver," said Tom Clark, executive vice president of the Metro Denver Economic Development Corp to the Rocky Mountain News. "This sets the stage for us to retain companies that are here and sends a signal to the marketplace that we want these types of companies to locate here."

Aviation Technology Group Inc. is considering Colorado and other states for a 100,000-square-foot factory that eventually will employ several hundred workers to build the two-place Javelin. ATG hopes to have the plant running in 2006.

ATG had planned to put the plant in Albuquerque, but is now looking at other areas, including Colorado.

"Until this gesture, Colorado really didn't have the tools to work with companies like ours," said George Bye, ATG's chairman and CEO to the Rocky Mountain News. "This legislation is very timely. I think Colorado has a great chance (of landing the new plant), and this really helps us in that decision process."

ATG is considering locating the plant at its Centennial Airport headquarters or at Front Range Airport just east of Denver. It is also still looking in New Mexico and Utah.

Adam Aircraft could also benefit if it decides to expand its Colorado facilities.

"It's obviously a very modest bill," said Robert Olislager, Centennial Airport administrator. "But considering this is the only economic development bill the state legislature passed this year, we think, nevertheless, it's a giant step forward."

FMI: www.leg.state.co.us, www.avtechgroup.com

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