After months of deliberation and delay, the House of Representatives finally cleared the comprehensive $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill last night. President Biden is expected to sign the measure, ensuring a historic investment in U.S. infrastructure and airports.
Leadership of the ACC Advocacy Committee will be meeting this week to discuss engagement with FAA, which will be responsible for developing guidance on the distribution of funding. As a reminder, the infrastructure bill includes $25 billion in additional funding for airports above normal AIP spending levels over five years.
Airport funding highlights include:
- $15 billion ($3 billion over 5 years) in formula grants to airports
- Includes an ACC-endorsed provision expanding eligibility to PFC-funded projects;
- Provides $2.48 billion per year for primary airports, through regular AIP formula (with no maximum apportionment limits), and any funds left over after apportionment are to be divided amongst all primary service airports based on calendar year 2019 enplanements (for FY 2022 and 2023), and then on most recent calendar year enplanements thereafter;
- $500 million per year for general aviation and noncommercial airports, to be apportioned by their NPIAS categories;
- $20 million for competitive grants to contract tower and contract tower cost share airports for upgrades to their towers and equipment or for remote tower construction;
- Clarifies that none of this money can be used by airports to pay debt service;
- Calls for a regular cost-share arrangement for primary and general aviation/nonprimary funding allocations;
- Sets aside 3% for FAA administration.
- $5 billion ($1 billion over 5 years) for a new airport terminal program:
- For “competitive grants for airport terminal development projects that address the aging infrastructure of the nation’s airports”;
- Each year, no more than 55 percent is for large hubs, no more than 15 percent for medium hubs, no more than 20 percent for small hubs, and no more than 10 percent for non-hub and nonprimary airports;
- “Terminal development” is defined as including on-airport rail access projects, other multimodal terminal development, and projects to relocate or improve an airport control tower;
- The federal cost share will be 80 percent for large and medium hub airports and 95 percent for small hub, non-hub and nonprimary airports;
- Sets aside 3% for FAA administration;
- The USDOT Secretary is directed to give priority to several types of projects, including “projects that increase capacity and passenger access, projects that replace aging infrastructure,” ADA compliance and projects to help disadvantaged populations.
- $5 billion ($1 billion per year installments) for Facilities and Equipment:
- Outlines a number of eligible uses for funding;
- Provides that no less than $200 million over the five-year period will go to contract towers.
Notably, the bill includes provisions relating to the DOT’s Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) program, by extending TIFIA until September 30, 2025 and expanding eligibility to include PFC-funded projects at airports. It caps the annual amount of TIFIA awards to no more than 15 percent for airports. It also makes such airport projects subject to FAA prevailing wage and Buy America requirements.