By Dean Franks, senior vice president, congressional relations, ARTBA
The House of Representatives is set to consider a six-year reauthorization of the federal aviation programs the week of April 23. While H.R. 4, the “FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018,” has broad, bipartisan support from House Transportation & Infrastructure (T&I) Committee members, it would also restrict Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funding to $3.35 billion for each of the next six years. Federal airport infrastructure investment has been frozen at this level since FY 2012.
Representatives Lou Barletta (R-Pa.) and Sam Graves (R-Mo.) are offering an amendment that would restore AIP to the funding levels approved in 2017 by the T&I Committee – an annual average increase of $440 million over the life of the six year bill.
Another amendment, to remove the cap on the Passenger Facility Charge (PFC), is being offered by Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) and Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.). The PFC is a user fee airports can charge passengers to generate revenue for capital improvements that has been held at $4.50 per enplanement since 2000.
The House Rules Committee will determine which of the 219 amendments filed for the FAA bill will receive votes. The Rules Committee is essentially an arm of the House Republican leadership and both have prevented amendments increasing infrastructure investment from getting to the House floor in the past.
Regardless of this record, ARTBA is urging the committee to allow House members to vote on the merits of the Barletta-Graves and Massie-DeFazio amendments. Similarly, the ARTBA co-chaired Transportation Construction Coalition pressed committee members in an April 20 letter to give the amendments an opportunity to be considered.
ARTBA will keep you apprised of the status of the amendments as this process moves forward next week.