FY20 Appropriations: On June 4, the House Appropriations Committee approved its version of the FY 2020 DOT/FAA spending bill. The measure includes $3.35 billion in “regular” AIP funding and another $500 million for supplemental discretionary grants that would be available to airports of all sizes. If enacted into law, this proposal would bring the total supplemental discretionary funding for airports to $2 billion over a three-year period.
Of the $3.35 billion in AIP funding included in the House FY20 DOT/FAA spending bill, $112.6 million would go toward administration expenses, $15 million is designated for the Airport Cooperative Research Program, slightly more than $33.2 million is made available for Airport Technology Research and $10 million is provided for the Small Community Air Service Development Program.
FY19 Appropriations: In February 2019 Congress passed H.J. Res. 31, a package of FY19 spending bills that contained funding for DOT and numerous other federal agencies. The measure included $3.35 billion in regular AIP funding and another $500 million for supplemental discretionary grants. Unlike the FY18 DOT/FAA spending bill, the FY19 measure did not include language requiring DOT to give “priority consideration” to certain nonprimary, nonhub and small airport projects.
FY18 Appropriations: The FY18 omnibus spending bill included $3.35 billion in traditional AIP funding and an additional $1 billion in supplemental funding for airport infrastructure projects, which the FAA has distributed through AIP discretionary grants. (That extra $1 billion for airports was made available after Congress approved a two-year budget deal in early 2018. That agreement expires on October 1, 2019.)
For the $1 billion in supplemental discretionary funding provided in FY18, DOT was required by Congress to give priority consideration to projects at “(a) nonprimary airports that are classified as Regional, Local, or Basic airports and are not located within a Metropolitan or Micropolitan Statistical Area as defined by the Office of Management and Budget, or (b) primary airports that are classified as Small or Nonhub airports.” The federal share for projects at nonprimary airports is 100 percent.
FAA Reauthorization Bill: In late 2018, Congress approved H.R. 302, the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018. The bill authorized $3.35 billion annually for AIP through FY23. That flat funding is particularly disappointing since airports have enormous infrastructure needs, and the legislation failed to raise the federal cap on local PFCs.
The FAA bill also authorized -- but did not guarantee -- more than $1 billion annually for construction projects at airports smaller than large hubs. That proposed revenue would need to come from general fund instead of the Airport and Airway Trust Fund and compete with other transportation programs as part of the annual appropriations process.
The final FAA bill also included some programmatic changes. For instance, it included two Senate provisions regarding the minimum entitlement. One would allow certain airports to continue to receive the minimum entitlement even if their enplanements dip below 10,000. The other would allow commercial service airports with more than 8,000 enplanements to receive $600,000 in AIP entitlements.