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New aviation center receives taxpayer support

SOUTH BURLINGTON - Aerospace and aviation continues to play an ever-expanding role in the Green Mountain State and generates nearly $2 billion in economic activity. In recognition of the aviation industry's economic contributions to Vermont's bottom line, Gov. Jim Douglas joined community and business leaders to celebrate the Vermont Aerospace and Aviation Association (VAAA) open house at the Burlington International Airport last week.

The Federal Aviation Administration estimates commercial aviation provides 9,369 jobs generating more than $257 million in wages and nearly a billion dollars in economic output in Vermont.

"The aerospace industry is an important supplier of good jobs in Vermont," said Douglas. "I am proud to support the continuing evolution of the aerospace sector in our state."

The governor followed his comments by reading a proclamation declaring February 2010 as "Aviation and Aerospace Appreciation Month." He also presented a check to officials from the City of South Burlington for $30,000 to fund preliminary work on a new Burlington Aviation Technical Training Center.

In addition to aerospace companies like General Electric of Rutland, Vergennes-based Goodrich, and Burlington's General Dynamics, Vermont boasts two commercial airports and 16 public-use airports, as well as 1,350 pilots and 877 general aviation aircraft.

The funds will help build a technical aircraft maintenance training school at the airport. It will fund early work on the future center, including architectural services, design, and permit fees.

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