Airports are economic engines for local, national and international economies.

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News Article: ACI-NA Releases Study on Collective Economic Impact Of Commercial Airports

 

ACI-NI has done a commendable job quantifying the positive economic impact of these important infrastructure investments. Today, infrastructure funding comes from a user fee financed fund and Passenger Facility Charges (PFCs). Although dollars spent on these projects do not burden local governments, the funds come with restrictions on how they can be spent.

 

In response to Mr. Principato’s question, how to give “……….the airport the freedom to operate as a responsible and intelligent business — and to act as a reflection of the local community by charging what the market will bear to generate resources to build infrastructure, and in turn, take control of their destiny”, there is at least one answer –allow airports to “opt out” of the Airport Improvement Program (AIP) and let them charge what they believe the market will support. There may be other adjustments to the AIP Grant Assurances that could help, but the appropriate policy balance is something that the airports, the FAA and Congress might consider.

 

Under this alternative, everybody wins. Airports that “opt out” get to control their own destiny. Airports that “remain in” get to share in the AIP funds that would otherwise have gone to airports that opt out.  Airlines and passengers may also win. With fewer infrastructure projects in the National Plan of Integrated Airport System (NPIAS), the overall need for AIP funding may be reduced and the ticket tax, much to A4A’s delight, could also go down.

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