The Dayton area has proposed $30 million worth of economic development projects for Ohio’s 2015-2016 budget. It’s the first time in five years local groups have had a chance to request construction funds, and the governor’s Office of Budget and Management (OBM) is going through over 100 proposals from around the state now.
Right now, if you can spare the cash, you can buy your own drone—or unmanned aerial vehicle, as the industry likes to call them. You can buy local, too, because the Dayton area is trying to shape itself as a hub for the growing commercial drone industry. In a couple years local companies would like to be using them for agricultural purposes, emergency response, entertainment, even surveillance.
"The FAA really needs to address the procedures and policies associated with flying these systems," says Maurice McDonald at the Dayton Development Coalition.
The Federal Aviation Administration is expected to make a decision soon about where to open up air space for the testing of commercial drones. Southwest Ohio is competing to become one of six sites around the country as the FAA prepares to regulate the commercial drone industry by late 2015.
The government shutdown continues, as do the furloughs affecting civilian employees at Wright-Patterson. One estimate has put the economic impact at $5 million per furlough day that the region loses. Nearly 9,000 base employees are currently out of work.
The news in the short-term is certainly not good. Michael Gessel with the Dayton Development Coalition says to put that into perspective, "it would be the same economic impact if LexisNexis, Honda and AK Steel closed down and let everybody off."