Removing federal review of PFCs is intuitive
Removing from FAA Assurances?
Which ones? Prospectively and/or Retroactively?
Macro Concept needs Micro details
A coalition of free market groups sent a letter to select House committee and subcommittee leaders in support of H.R. 3791, Investing in America: Rebuilding America’s Airports Infrastructure Act. The bill was introduced by Reps. Thomas Massie (R-KY) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and it proposes to eliminate the existing $4.50 cap on the airport passenger facility charge. This change would apply to the large hub airports (defined in National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS) 2019–2023). If enacted H.R. 3791 would reduce $400 million Airport Improvement Program (AIP) entitlement grants, the amount that those airports would have received. The 9 groups signing the letter argued that the real import of the legislation would be to empower airports and local officials to make their own decisions about airport funding. Here is the coalition’s letter:
“Freeing the big airports” is an appealing cheer reminiscent of the proposals for FAA ATC Privatization.” On a macro, or more accurately “ambiguous”), basis, it is appealing to libertarians and even some on the extreme left. Who could oppose freedom, but as the practical connections to the existing airport systems (ATC parallel- governance, funding, etc.) some of the support tends to evaporate.
Here, until the Representative authors answer some of these important questions, a cloud of doubt must hover over H.R. 3781:
? Elimination of the PFC cap will not completely liberate airports; oversight will rear its ugly head through the NEPA process?
? Or will H.R. 3781 eliminate “federal actions” predicates to NEPA?
? Will HR 3781 make the Grant Assurances (49 U.S. Code § 47107) irrelevant to these privately financed projects?
? Libertarians might find the elimination of the section’s prohibition against economic discrimination (i.e. creating preferential runway utilization by carrier which invested in it)
? LLCs might object!!!
? If Davis-Bacon was not applicable to these projects, labor costs might decrease and unions would oppose!!!
? H.R. 3781 will apply prospectively, but would any of these exclusions apply retroactively? How would management differentiate between PFC capped improvements and uncapped capital projects?
? The applicability of the 49 USC provisions is intended to protect a NATIONAL SYSTEM of airports. One protection included in this policy is that an airport proposal is subject to federal review; would Uncapped Projects still be subject to that constraint?
Uncapping PFCs makes sense conceptually, but before the bill moves, these and other questions must be resolved!!!
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