Under much anticipation, the House Democrats’ infrastructure package, the Moving Forward Act, increased the authorization of the Airport Improvement Program (AIP) from $3.35 billion to $4 billion annually to make much needed improvement in our nation’s airport infrastructure. ASCE’s 2017 Infrastructure Report Card gave our nation’s aviation system a “D,” and identified a 10-year funding shortfall of $42 billion. While our nation’s airports rely on a delicate revenue ecosystem, AIP funds serve as one of the primary sources of federal funding used to improve airport infrastructure and raise the subpar grade.
In addition to increasing AIP’s annual authorization level, the Moving Forward Act also provides supplemental funding for 5 years based on enplanements. This includes an additional $3 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2021, $3.2 billion in FY22, $3.5 billion in FY23, $3.7 billion in FY24, and $4 billion in FY25. This additional funding will be given in grants for airport projects that increase climate resiliency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and mitigate airplane noise. FY21 supplemental funding can be spent on AIP eligible projects and on COVID-19 related items and in FY22-25 on all AIP eligible projects. Lastly, the legislation expands AIP project eligibility to projects that increase airport resiliency against earthquakes, hurricanes, flooding, tornadoes, and other natural disasters.
Despite this positive increase in AIP funding the legislation maintains the Passenger Facility Charge (PFC) at $4.50, leaving another critical revenue tool underutilized. We urge Congress to take this opportunity fix the PFC and ensure we have a world class aviation system.
ASCE is pleased that the Moving Forward Act contains provisions to enhance airport infrastructure funding and urging Congress to also consider additional revenue tools to close the $42 billion investment gap in our nation’s airports. These investments will only help close the funding gap for our nation’s infrastructure, will spur the economy, and will improve the quality of life for all Americans.