Long Awaited Airport Infrastructure Bill Signed into Law!
Last week, the “FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018,” became Public Law No: 115-254, a significant victory on an issue SMACNA and the airport coalition allies have supported for many years. While it did not contain every provision airport infrastructure groups have long promoted, it did advance the effort considerably on many policy fronts.
This marks the first time since 1982 that the FAA has received a full 5-year reauthorization. SMACNA members had many legislative priorities in the bill and the contractors engaged in the debate working as a team to educate Congress and have industry infrastructure priorities considered.
The airport infrastructure package includes many programs that support the modernization of airport facilities and increase funding sources for facilities. The new law:
Provides stable funding for the Airport Improvement Program (AIP), which issues grants to public use airports of all sizes for planning and development purposes.
Removes Passenger Facility Charge (PFC) restrictions to allow airports to more effectively finance projects.
Streamlines the Passenger Facility Charge application process for airports.
Reforms the Federal Contract Tower Program and updates FAA’s dated cost-benefit analysis for current contract towers.
Creates a remote air traffic control tower pilot program to deploy new advanced technologies and lower costs of air traffic control services.
The law authorizes $1.02 billion for the Airport Improvement Program (AIP) in the fiscal year 2019. Funding then would rise slightly each year after that, to a maximum of $1.11 billion in fiscal 2023. AIP is financed by user fees that flow into the Airport and Airway Trust Fund; the new grants would come from the general fund.