By Dave Bauer, senior vice president of government relations, ARTBA
The House Transportation & Infrastructure (T&I) Committee today approved 47 to 12 an ARTBA-supported amendment that would boost Airport Improvement Program (AIP) investment by $250 million to $3.6 billion in FY 2017 and grow the program’s funding to $4 billion by FY 2022. Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Pa.) offered the amendment during the T&I Committee’s consideration of legislation, the “Aviation Innovation, Reform and Reauthorization Act” or AIRR Act, to reauthorize the federal aviation programs for the next six-years.
The Barletta Amendment boosts the AIRR Act’s proposed AIP funding levels by nearly $200 million per year. It would assure federal airport capital grants would keep pace with both projected inflation and construction materials cost increases over the next six years. AIP investment was $3.5 billion per year from FY 2006 to FY 2011, but was cut to $3.35 billion as part of the 2012 reauthorization of the aviation programs.
While Reps. Sam Graves (R-Mo.) and Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) joined as cosponsors of the Barletta Amendment, House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) opposed the proposal. Shuster told his colleagues the amendment was not necessary as the AIRR Act grew AIP investment from $3.4 billion in FY 2017 to $3.8 billion in FY 2022. Barletta and Graves, however, argued the amendment restores a previous AIP cut and would allow the program to help make a bigger dent in the nation’s documented airport capital needs. Below is a summary of the Barletta Amendment vote.
Barletta Lipinski Graves
DeFazio (D-Ore.) Young (R-Ala.) Norton (D-D.C.)
Duncan (R-Tenn.) Nadler (D-N.Y.) Mica (R-Fla.)
Brown (D-Fla.) LoBiondo (R-N.J.) Johnson (D-Texas)
Cummings (D-Md.) Miller (R-Mich.) Larsen (D-Wash.)
Capuano (D-Mass.) Crawford (R-Ark.) Napolitano (D-Calif.)
Farenthold (R-Texas) Cohen (D-Tenn.) Gibbs (R-Ohio)
Sires (D-N.J) Hanna (R-N.Y.) Edwards (D-Md.)
Webster (R-Fla.) Garamendi (D-Calif.) Carson (D-Ind.)
Ribble (R-Wis.) Hahn (D-Calif.) Nolan (D-Minn.)
Meadows (R-N.C.) Kirkpatrick (D-Ariz.) Titus (D-Nev.)
Davis (R-Ill.) Maloney (D-N.Y.) Esty (D-Conn.)
Frankel (D-Fla.) Bustos (D-Ill.) Katko (R-N.Y)
Huffman (D-Calif.) Brownley (D-Calif.) Hardy (R-Nev.)
Costello (R-Pa.) Comstock (R-Va.) Curbelo (R-Fla.)
Zeldin (R-N.Y.) Bost (R-Ill.)
Shuster Hunter (R-Calif.) Denham (R-Calif.)
Massie (R-Ky.) Perry (R-Pa.) Sanford (R-S.C.)
Woodall (R-Ga.) Rokita (R-Ind.) Babin (R-Texas)
Graves (R-La.) Walters (R-Calif.) Rouzer (R-N.C.)
ARTBA worked with Rep. Barletta to assist in the development of the AIP amendment and produced state-specific fact sheets on the benefits of the AIP program that were distributed among T&I Committee members. We also briefed the ARTBA co-chaired Transportation Construction Coalition (TCC) members on the proposal. The TCC urged all T&I Committee members to support the Barletta Amendment. Multiple ARTBA state contractor affiliates also urged committee members from their state to support the boost in AIP investment.
The T&I Committee’s consideration of the AIRR Act is expected to go well into the evening as the panel still had more than two dozen amendments pending at 5 p.m. While the AIRR Act is expected to gain committee approval, several members openly questioned during today’s deliberations if it would ever reach the House floor due to its controversial proposal to privatize the Federal Aviation Administration air traffic control functions.
With the current short-term extension of the aviation programs expiring March 31, we will keep you posted as Congress continues to work to advance a multi-year aviation bill.