Airports Not to Blame for Actions of Others

 

ACI-NA Files Comments Opposing FAA’s Proposal to Require Airports to Give Assurances that Exceed the Legal and Political Power of Airport Sponsors

Executive Summary: ACI-NA submitted comments on March 3, 2014 expressing serious concerns for FAA to hold airport sponsors responsible for the actions of non-sponsor state and local governments, over which airport sponsors have no authority or control, and requesting that FAA reconsider the Notice of Proposed Clarification of Policy.

Link to ACI-NA Comments: http://aci-na.org/sites/default/files/faa_revenue_use_policy--final_1.pdf.

Link to Federal Register notice: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-11-21/pdf/2013-27860.pdf.

Who is Impacted: All airport operators that have accepted federal assistance.

Background:

In our comments, we expressed our understanding and support to the FAA’s efforts in protecting revenue for airport and aviation purposes; however, we expressed serious concerns about the impossible position in which many airport sponsors would find themselves if the Proposed Policy were to be implemented:

  • We believe it would be improper for FAA to hold airport sponsors, which generally are independent political subdivisions of states, responsible for the actions of non-sponsor state and local governments, over which airport sponsors have no authority or control.
  • We are concerned deeply that airport sponsors may be held to be in non-compliance with the assurance, and thus, subject to penalties for the actions of other political entities that are outside the scope of control of the airport sponsor.
  • In addition, such an assurance, as a condition of the receipt of a grant, would effectively make it impossible for any airport sponsor to accept new grants.
  • We believe the FAA’s proposal impermissibly interferes with fundamental state taxing and spending powers in a manner that is well outside the statutory language regarding aviation fuel taxes and is incongruent with federalism principles, which preclude federal agencies from this type of interference.
  • We believe the Proposed Policy fails to satisfy the requirement of the Executive Order that restricts the regulatory preemption of state and local laws to the minimum level necessary.
  • We believe the Proposed Policy is a “new policy” and not merely a “clarification” of an existing policy.

 

ACI-NA Contact: James Briggs (202-293-4540) or Liying Gu (202-861-8084)