House T&I Committee Approves FAA Reauthorization – Increases Funding for Airport Infrastructure
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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