In a letter today to Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller and House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Jim Oberstar, Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA) President Greg Principato stressed the importance of Congress completing their work on H.R. 1586, the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill. “Without action immediately,” Principato wrote, “The House and Senate will be forced to approve the 14th extension of Vision 100 which was signed into law seven years ago.”
The current short-term FAA extension expires on July 3. A House and Senate panel has been working on a compromise for a multi-year extension.
Principato also stressed the importance to the airport industry of including the House language increasing the ceiling for the Passenger Facility Charge (PFC) from $4.50 to $7 in the final bill. “The PFC is a key financing component of the airport industry used for critical safety and security projects, as well as maintaining airline competition in local communities. Airports cannot afford to delay these important projects aimed at keeping aviation passengers safe and secure,” according to Principato.
The letter also notes that the American Society of Civil Engineers’ 2010 Report Card for American Infrastructure estimated the investment needed for aviation infrastructure improvements over the next five years at $87 billion and projected a $40.7 billion shortfall in airport funding without changes including the PFC increase.
The letter also highlights the important role PFCs play in providing for competition at airports around the country. “The consolidation of the airline industry gives increased market power to airlines that could be used to block efforts by other carriers to enter or increase their presence in a particular market .The PFC is a proven tool airports have used consistently to bring in new carriers to provide increased service and enhance competition in a given area.”