By Dave Bauer, senior vice president of government relations, ARTBA

ARTBA is urging its members to help support increased airport infrastructure investment as the House Transportation & Infrastructure (T&I) Committee meets 10 a.m., Thursday, Feb. 11 to consider the reauthorization of federal aviation programs.

The Airport Improvement Program (AIP) was funded at $3.52 billion per year from FY 2006 to FY 2011.  The last reauthorization of the AIP cut annual investment to $3.35 billion beginning in FY 2012 and it has remained at that level.

Under an amendment offered by Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Pa.) to the draft “Aviation Innovation, Reform and Reauthorization (AIRR) Act” now under consideration, AIP investment would grow from $3.6 billion in FY 2017 to $4.0 billion in FY 2022.  The Barletta amendment would boost AIP roughly $200 million per year more than proposed by the AIRR Act.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration’s most recent “National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems Report,” a 3,345 public-use airports identified $33.5 billion in unfunded capital development projects that would be eligible for AIP grants over the period 2015-19.  Meeting this need would require an average annual investment of $6.7 billion—roughly twice the current AIP investment.  ARTBA is distributing a fact sheet among T&I Committee members demonstrating how their states benefit from AIP funding.

ARTBA is asking its state chapters and members to contact their congressman—if on the T&I Committee—and urge them to support the Barletta Amendment.  Here’s a link to the committee members, including contact information.

The federal aviation programs are currently operating under a short-term extension through March 31.

ARTBA and its aviation stakeholder partners will continue to advocate for increased investment and resources to support needed airport improvements as the reauthorization process moves forward.