AIP is addictive? Maybe in a good way!!!

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How the FAA gets communities addicted to airport grants

AIP Grant Assurances are Clear

Federal Grant should assure tax dollars spent with return to NATION

Addiction is the jobs which aviation created for Minnesota


Bob Collins




Mr. Collins wrote an article, the point of which was to equate the federal grants, known as the Airport Improvement Program, with cocaine. Part of the premise of his sophist statement is that “often unbeknownst to the local politicians” they sign the FAA Grant Assurance , they are agreeing to contract terms which are obligations binding the sponsor/City to keep the airport runway in good repair for the term of the grant. The agreement is 20 pages long and written in plain English and the brochure is all of 20 pages.

An average citizen, one would suspect, would read that the elected representative(s) would read such an important document. Twenty pages is not inordinately long for a common commercial contract, for example, a buyer of a house is usually expected to read as many as 40 pages to close the deal. In some instance a party to such a transaction would rely on the knowledge of an agent or lawyer.

Most municipal governments have an attorney on their staffs or retainers. It is standard practice for the lawyer to review the critical aspects of an obligation to be signed.  In addition to the requirements imposed on the city/sponsor, the FAA grant places the burden to pay the local share—it is not free money (or cocaine).

In essence, the article inadvertently insinuates that the city’s representatives did not review an important contract.



What is this AIP thing? It dates back to 1946 and Congresses since that enactment have continued to authorize it five times and oh by the way, five Presidents signed onto this nefarious scheme.

AIP provides grants to public agencies — and, in some cases, to private owners and entities. Large and medium primary hub airports, the grant covers 75 percent of eligible costs (or 80 percent for noise program implementation). For small primary, reliever, and general aviation airports, the grant covers a range of 90-95 percent of eligible costs, based on statutory requirements.  Here is a list which shows the types of project for AIP funding:










In Minnesota (starting at p.57) last year, 57 airports received $39,527,802 in AIP grants. The specific projects included runway rehabilitation, master planning, acquiring snow removal equipment, installing navigational aids, performing an environmental review, add security fences, construct runway safety areas and the like. The alleged addiction seems to be a statewide epidemic.

In authorizing and reauthorizing AIP, Congress made determinations that airports are important national assets. The federal legislators are very fiscally responsible and have exercised oversight to assure that the taxpayer dollars are carefully spent. In disbursing the grants, assessments are made as to their eligibility technically and are allocated based on their scores for safety, capacity and the environment. The GAO and OIG periodically review the efficacy of these spending decisions. It is fair to say that the AIP is as carefully scrutinized as any federal funding program.

In that context, it would be irresponsible to make these grants without imposing some assurances that the dollars will be spent for the right purposes and the investment delivers those benefits over a reasonable term.

Aviation depends on AIP dollars and those expenditures support an aviation/aerospace sector with employment in excess of 8 million employees and a GNP contribution above three-quarters of a trillion dollars ( 1997 study) Another old study (2002) shows that the MPR audience benefits from a large number of well-paid workers from this sector.

That’s an addictive benefit from those AIP obligations.









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