Department of Transportation Appropriations

The annual Department of Transportation/Federal Aviation Administration appropriations bill establishes funding levels for a number of key airport priorities including the Airport Improvement Program; ATC modernization; airport-related research including the Airport Cooperative Research Program; the Small Community Air Service Development Program; Essential Air Service; the Contract Tower Program and Contract Tower Cost-Sharing Program; and FAA-related environmental review work, among others.   Additionally, the DOT/FAA spending bill has become the vehicle for ensuring that FAA continues to pay for the space the agency uses in airport-owned buildings.  

As Congress considers the Fiscal Year 2020 spending bill for the Department of Transportation and Federal Aviation Administration, AAAE and airports around the country are urging Congress to increase Airport Improvement Program funding and take other steps to help airport finance their infrastructure projects.  Airports are also pressing lawmakers to help small communities by fully funding the Contract Tower, Essential Air Service, and Small Community Air Service Development Programs.  

Airports successfully convinced Congress to appropriate a total of $1.5 billion in additional AIP funding over the past two fiscal years.  But a three-peat is uncertain since a two-year budget deal, which opened the door for additional infrastructure funding, expires at the end of current fiscal year in October.  It is unclear if Congress and the administration will agree to another broad budget deal that could stall planned budget cuts and create an opportunity for additional investments in airports and other infrastructure needs.   


FY20 Appropriations:  On June 4, the House Appropriations Committee approved its version of the FY 2020 DOT spending bill.  The measure proposes an extra $500 million for airport infrastructure projects in addition to $3.35 billion in “regular” AIP funding.  If enacted into law, this proposal would bring the total supplemental discretionary funding for airports to $2 billion over a three-year period.  

The House bill includes a $169 million for the Contract Tower Program – a $1 million increase from current levels. It also contains $176 million in appropriated funds for EAS and another $10 million for the Small Community Air Service Development program.  A side-by-side chart that shows how the House bill stacks up against the FY 2019 enacted level and the administration’s FY 2020 budget request.

Related Information

• A list of AAAE priorities for the FY 2020 DOT/FAA funding bill may viewed here.

• A side-by-side chart that shows how the House bill stacks up against the FY 2019 enacted level and the administration’s FY 2020 budget request may be viewed here.


Brad Van Dam
Senior Vice President, Government Affairs
(703) 797-2534