Travel delays at airports have become all too common place. In fact, the surprise usually is that a flight makes it to its destination on time (or if the travel gods are feeling particularly generous, you might make it to your destination a few minutes early). Some of this is beyond anyone’s control: weather patterns and airplane mechanical problems to name a few. But part of this problem is most certainly self-imposed. Inadequate investment in the nation’s aviation system has real consequences, beyond simply making you a few minutes late for check-in at your arriving hotel.
In ASCE’s 2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure the Society gave a grade of “D” to the aviation sector. Our Failure to Act report highlights the sobering reality that this lack of aviation sector investment has on the broader U.S. economy: a projected $313 billion in loss of GDP by 2020 and 350,000 fewer jobs throughout the economy by 2020. The Society’s dedication to this issue does not stop with economic reports, but rather this data is the gateway to engaging elected officials to act on solutions to these problems.
That is why ASCE recently joined with aviation sector stakeholders, such as airports and state legislators, to supports an increase in the passenger facility charge (PFC) cap which would allow airports to raise necessary funds locally for improving the nation’s aviation infrastructure. Funds raised through PFCs are only eligible for use at the airport in which they were collected and can be used on projects to preserve or enhance the safety, security and capacity of the national air transportation system. This funding solution is expected to be under consideration when Congress turns its attention crafting to a broader Federal Aviation Authorization (FAA) reform bill early next year.
Until then, you can show support for an improved aviation system by writing your Members of Congress here and using the hashtag #AirportsUnited to help spread the message. It’s time to take human error related to political gridlock out of the equation when it comes to getting travelers to their destinations safely, on-time and hopefully with a little less stress.