Infrastructure Package

Early in 2019, there was hope that Congress and the Trump Administration could overcome partisan divides and approve a major legislative package to boost investment in the nation’s infrastructure.  For airports, the key to fueling additional infrastructure investment lies in a long-overdue adjustment to the federal cap on local passenger facility charges (PFCs), which would empower airports to meet their own, unique critical local needs without additional help from the federal government.  Additional information on the PFC and the need for an adjustment to the federal cap on these critical local fees can be viewed here.   

Despite encouraging developments and a reported agreement in concept to a $2 trillion infrastructure package achieved at an initial meeting between President Trump and Democratic congressional leaders earlier in the year, negotiations between the White House and Capitol Hill Democrats have largely fallen apart due to disagreements over how to pay for the package and underlying partisan tensions.  

AAAE continues to urge Congress to pursue an infrastructure package, an updated PFC program, and other changes that could help airports finance much-needed upgrades to better accommodate anticipated passenger growth, improve the customer experience for air travelers, and enhance competition at the nation’s airports.

Related Information

Talking Points/Myths and Facts
• AAAE and ACI-NA are urging Congress to adjust the outdated PFC cap when lawmakers consider a possible infrastructure package. The list of joint legislative priorities for the two organizations may be viewed here.

• A myths and facts piece that AAAE and ACI-NA created to respond to erroneous PFC claims made by the airlines may be viewed here.

• A two-pager on PFCs with talking points may be viewed here.

Letters/Op-Eds
• AAAE President and CEO Todd Hauptli on May 17 sent a letter to the President that highlighted the fact that significant investments in the nation’s airports can be accomplished without the need for an influx of federal dollars and without the need to raise federal taxes by simply providing airports with additional local PFC flexibility.

• AAAE President and CEO Todd Hauptli made a similar point in an Op-Ed that appeared in Aviation Daily on May 17.

Testimony
• Larry Krauter, the CEO of the Spokane International Airport and AAAE Secretary/Treasurer, told lawmakers that adjusting the PFC cap would allow airports to reduce their interest costs. Krauter testified before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee during its first infrastructure hearing on February 7.

Krauter and other airport directors and stakeholders listed below made the case for PFCs when they testified before the House Transportation Committee on March 26 during a hearing on airport infrastructure needs:
     o Candace McGraw, the CEO of the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport and ACI-NA Chair; and
     o Joe Lopano, the CEO of the Tampa Bay International Airport.

House Transportation Committee Chair Peter DeFazio’s Three-Point Infrastructure Plan
• On February 1, 2017, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) released a three-point infrastructure plan that calls for raising the PFC cap to help airports finance their infrastructure. DeFazio came up with the plan as a way to show how to invest in our nation’s infrastructure without adding to the federal deficit.

• DeFazio’s proposal would pay for highway and transit projects by indexing the gas and diesel user fee. It would also spend down the uncommitted balance of the Harbor Maintenance Fund to pay for harbor-related projects.

House Democrats’ Infrastructure Plan
• On February 8, 2018 – a year after DeFazio came up with his three-point plan – House Democrats responded to the administration’s proposal and unveiled an outline for a broader infrastructure plan they call, “A Better Deal to Rebuild America.” The Democratic proposal calls for a $1 trillion in federal spending.

• A two-page summary indicates that the plan will “increase public investment in our airports and aviation system so Americans arrive at their final destination safely and on time, and with more money in their pockets.” However, the summary does not mention how much of the proposed $1 trillion would go to airports. It also does not mention PFCs.

Administration’s Infrastructure Plan
• The administration on February 12, 2018 unveiled a $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan that calls for $200 billion in federal funds to help stimulate private and local investment in our nation’s infrastructure.

• In a May 21, 2019 letter to Democratic leaders, the President called on lawmakers to pass the United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement before taking up an infrastructure package.

Senate Democrats’ Infrastructure Plan
• Senate Democrats on March 7, 2018 released an updated version of their own infrastructure plan. Like the House proposal, the Senate plan calls for $1 trillion in federal spending and more money for airports. But it does not recommend adjusting the PFC cap.

• The Senate Democrats’ plan proposes $40 billion for a new “Vital Infrastructure Program” that would pay for “mega projects” including large capital projects at airports. The plan includes another $40 billion “to improve America’s airports and airspace,” including $6 billion to accelerate NextGen.

Contact  

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