The First Step in Finding Sustainable Funding

Posted on Centerlines Blog on Oct. 17 by Debby McElroy
Change is hard and reasonable people can disagree. This was evident on Sunday afternoon when about 50 airport directors from large, medium, small and non-hub airports throughout the Unites States participated in a four-hour facilitated discussion on airport financing. There was a candid exchange of perspectives, with general agreement on the need for additional funding. Also that more local control is preferable to the current system of federal control, which imposes outdated bureaucratic regulations that often stymy economic growth. But the devil truly is in the details.

This meeting was the first step in the process ACI-NA is using to develop a long term, sustainable policy for funding U.S airport infrastructure. We are committed to a process that ensures that all ACI-NA airport members have an opportunity to have their say- and more airports will have that opportunity next month. Additional facilitated discussions are scheduled for Atlanta and St. Louis in early November. ACI-NA is also working with Fleishman-Hillard, a recognized national expert in public relations, and Public Opinion Strategies, one of the country’s most respected polling firms, for additional research on the public’s perception and knowledge about airports.

We also know it is critical to increase the public’s appreciation of the critical role airports play in the U.S. aviation system, such that any discussion of transportation and the economy includes airports and their contributions to economic development in their communities and to the nation’s recovery. U.S. trade and commerce is airport-centric, and the failure of airports to keep pace with infrastructure requirements will end up negatively impacting the nation’s economy. A big job but we are excited and looking forward to the challenge!