0 min left

Airports to Fall Billions Short in Infrastructure Funding

The ACI-NA has said that it is urging the government to uncap the PFC in order to generate more cash for vital projects.

With passenger and cargo activity up and infrastructure aging, the nation’s airports say that they require almost $100 billion in funds for capital projects over the next five years, but can fund only half that figure on their own. This cost estimate, released in a bi-annual report by the Airports Council International – North America (ACI-NA), the body representing commercial airport owners, reveals that cost projections through to 2021 are 32 percent higher than the five-year estimate released by the group just two years ago.

The findings of the report were revealed just as President Trump has pledged $1 trillion toward improving America’s infrastructure, including bridges, roads and tunnels as well as airports. Bloomberg reports that he will be asking Congress to approve funding that draws from both public and private sources of capital.

While America’s airports can draw from an existing $10 billion from extant sources, these facilities also receive about $3.5 billion per year in federal grants. These funds, in turn, come from fees and taxes levied on passengers and fuel.

However, in order to raise more cash to fund federally approved projects, the ACI-NA is appealing to the government to uncap the Passenger Facility Charge (PFC). This fee is currently set at a maximum of $4.50 per passenger and is levied at commercial airports run by a public agency.

But Airlines for America (A4A), the industry body representing a number of major carriers, has raised its objections to this plan. It claims that airports have access to untapped funds and haven’t cited the projects that have been able to progress due to the shortfall.

In a statement on Tuesday as quoted by Bloomberg, the body said, “Saddling passengers with more taxes is not the solution, particularly given the abundance of funding resources already available to airports for capital improvement projects.”

ACI-NA president and CEO Kevin M. Burke offered a rebuttal to this, saying that an increase of the PFC would avoid the need for federal funding. “The longer we delay, America’s airports will fall behind, and our infrastructure needs become more expensive to fix,” he said.

[Photo: Shutterstock]

Comments are Closed.