Spokane International Airport CEO Testifies to Congress for Second Time this Year on the Need to Increase Funding for Airport Infrastructure

March 27, 2019

Larry Krauter, the CEO of the Spokane International Airport testified before the U.S. House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee at a hearing on March 26, 2019 entitled “The Cost of Doing Nothing: Why Investment in our Nation’s Airports Matters.” Krauter called on lawmakers to adjust the federal cap on local Passenger Facility Charges (PFC’s) - a move he said would allow airports to reduce their interest costs and pass those savings on to passengers.

“What is advantageous about the PFC is that it is a locally-directed user fee that we have used for projects that directly benefit the passengers that pay the fee,” Krauter stated. “The PFC cap has not been adjusted by Congress for nearly 20 years and the purchasing power of the $4.50 user fee is now about half of what it was due to construction cost inflation.  As we are preparing to move forward on a much-needed terminal renovation and expansion project, having a modernized PFC rate is critical to reducing the amount of debt that we will need to issue to build the project and how fast it could be paid off.  We want to avoid long term debt to the greatest extent possible so that we can continue to build other needed infrastructure at Spokane International Airport, Felts Field and the Airport Business Park.”

Krauter outlined the need for an increase in the PFC’s to more efficiently fund much-needed renovation and expansion of the terminal buildings at Spokane International Airport, which has experienced 34% growth since 2014.

The Passenger Facility Charge is a $4.50 user fee that has been used to fund over $150 million of projects at Spokane International Airport since 1993.  Recent examples of projects funded by the PFC include a Snow Removal Equipment Storage and Maintenance Facility; acquisition of snow removal equipment; replacement of elevators and replacement of roofs and windows at the terminal buildings as well as security upgrades.

This is the second time Krauter has appeared in front of the U.S. House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee this year. Krauter also testified during a lengthy hearing on the country’s infrastructure on February 7, 2019 entitled "The Cost of Doing Nothing: Why Investing in Our Nation's Infrastructure Cannot Wait". The committee is chaired by Congressman Peter DeFazio, a longtime PFC proponent who introduced the legislation to create the PFC program in 1990 and has talked about the need for Congress to act now and invest in airport infrastructure.