John D. Clark III, executive director and chief executive officer of the Jacksonville Aviation Authority and chairman of Airports Council International-North America, testified Jan. 22 before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee that the funds from the Federal Aviation Administration’s Airport Improvement Program are more crucial than ever.
“Airports have more than $3B in AIP-approved projects that are ready to go over the next two years,” Clark testified. “Federal funding distributed through the AIP program will ensure shovels in the ground at large and small airports across the country in as little as 30 to 45 days after the enactment of economic stimulus legislation.”
He also said that because many airport bonds are classified as private activity bonds, which are subject to the Alternative Minimum Tax, airports can’t rely on credit markets to fund projects.
The program has disbursed more than $45B in grants to airports since 1982. The grants are designed to enhance the safety, security, capacity and environmental compliance of the country’s airports. Eligibility requirements state an airport must be publicly or privately owned, but designated by the FAA as a reliever; or privately owned but with scheduled commercial service and at least 2,500 annual enplanements