AGC Highway Facts Bulletin
www.agc.orgFebruary 12, 2016
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House T&I Committee Approves FAA Reauthorization Increases Funding for Airport Infrastructure
House T&I Committee Approves FAA Reauthorization Increases Funding for Airport Infrastructure

This week the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved H.R. 4441, the Aviation Innovation Reform and Reauthorization (AIRR) Act, a bill to reauthorize for six years the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) programs. A key component of the AIRR Act is the transfer air traffic control services from the FAA to a non-profit, user-fee-supported corporation. Committee approval clears the way for the full House consideration. The FAA is currently operating under an extension that expires on March 31 and the hope is that the legislation can be completed before that deadline, however, the ATC privatization is highly controversial which could slow down immediate action.

The approval followed a marathon markup session that included consideration of over 50 amendments, including a manager’s amendment that had been negotiated prior to the markup session. Throughout the reauthorization process, modernizing airport infrastructure financing and increasing funding for the Airport Improvement Program have been priorities of AGC. An AGC-supported amendment by Reps Lou Barletta (R-Pa.), Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) and Sam Graves (R-Mo.) to increase the AIP by $250 million in FY 2017 to $3.6 billion and grow the program’s funding to $4 billion by FY 2022 passed by a vote of 47-12. The increase assures that federal airport capital grants would keep pace with both projected inflation and construction materials cost increases over the next six years. The AIP program was funded at $3.5 billion per year from FY 2006 to FY 2011, but was cut to $3.35 billion in FY 2012 and has remained at that level.

AGC also advocated for an increase in the Federal cap of $4.50 per flight segment ($18 maximum per roundtrip ticket) on the Passenger Facility Charge (PFC) that airports are permitted to include in ticket prices to pay for airport infrastructure. An amendment to raise the cap on PFCs was offered by Rep Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) but was not voted on.  Despite not increasing the cap, the AIRR Act does simplify the process for imposing PFC’s at small and medium hubs.  The bill does stabilize funding for the Airport Improvement Program (AIP) and in fact increases the authorization for the program from $3.350 billion in FY 2016 to $3.817 in FY 2022. 

Prior to the markup, AGC and the AGC co-chaired Transportation Construction Coalition sent letters to the committee requesting increased funding for the AIP program and increasing the cap on PFCs. Amendments opposed by AGC to expand Buy America requirements on FAA projects were offered but were not voted on.

It is unclear when the House will take up the AIIR Act for consideration and thus far there is no companion bill in the Senate. It is important that representatives and senators hear from AGC members about the need for increased funding for airport runway and infrastructure projects. Letters to your Congressional delegation can be sent through AGC’s Legislative Action Center.

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