Alexandria, VA - American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) President and CEO Todd Hauptli expressed strong support for increasing the federal cap on locally imposed airport user fees as proposed in the President's budget released today and called on Congress to adjust the cap to $8.50 to help airports address the growing gap between infrastructure needs and available resources.
"With federal investment in our nation's airport system declining and facing further constraints, airports desperately need additional tools locally to meet current requirements and to prepare for future demand," Hauptli said. "Unfortunately, local airport authorities remain hamstrung by a federal cap on local airport user fees that was last adjusted more than 14 years ago and that remains woefully inadequate to meet the very real and growing needs that exist at airports across the country. It's time for the federal government to empower airport investment rather than stymie it by giving airports the self-help they need in the form of an increase in the passenger facility charge (PFC)."
The President's budget request for fiscal year 2015 released earlier today calls for increasing the federal cap on local passenger facility charges to $8 from the current level of $4.50. AAAE and other airport groups are calling for an increase in the PFC cap to $8.50 with periodic adjustments for inflation. The $8.50 level would make up for the loss of purchasing power that airports have experienced since the last adjustment in the PFC by Congress in 2000. The President's proposal also calls for reducing support for the federal Airport Improvement Program from $3.35 billion to $2.9 billion -- a move that airport executives believe is unwarranted particularly in light of the failure of Congress to act on the PFC in recent years.
"For the sake of today's travelers and for future generations, we need a vibrant system of airports to fuel economic development, create jobs, and keep the United States competitive globally," Hauptli added. "We have a blueprint for moving forward, and we remain hopeful that Congress will act soon to give airports the tools they need to invest in critical infrastructure improvements."