DeFazio, Massie Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Rebuild and Improve Nation’s Airports
The legislation would raise tens of billions of dollars for airports without increasing the deficit
Washington, D.C. -- March 1, 2017, House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Ranking Member Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Representative Thomas Massie (R-KY) introduced H.R. 1265, the Investing in America: Rebuilding America’s Airport Infrastructure Act. This legislation will generate billions of dollars each year to help our airports rebuild and rehabilitate aging terminals, runways, and taxiways and keep pace with ever-increasing demand in the 21st century—without raising taxes by a cent.
H.R. 1265 removes an outdated cap on the passenger facility charge (PFC), a per-passenger fee that airports may choose to collect to improve capacity, reduce noise, or stimulate competition among airlines.
Congress last increased the PFC cap in 2000. Since then, it has remained untouched despite a growing need, year over year, for increased investment in our aging airports.
“If we want to restore our aging airports to their former glory—not to mention help them keep up with increasing demand—we must give them the tools to improve and expand their terminals, runways, and taxiways. The FAA is already hard at work modernizing the airways to increase airspace capacity, but airports need the runways, taxiways, and terminals to support all that traffic on the ground. Early in President Trump’s campaign, he cited our Nation’s airports as a prime example of the need for meaningful investment in infrastructure. By uncapping the PFC, our legislation would do just that. I thank my cosponsor Rep. Massie for supporting this commonsense bill, and look forward to working with the Administration and my colleagues to get it signed into law,” said DeFazio. See video of DeFazio speaking on the legislation here.
“Airports need flexibility and local control to finance major construction projects. This market-driven reform will help modernize our nation’s airports and return power to local decision-makers,” said Massie. “This legislation reduces airports' dependency on federal funds because some of the major airports will raise their PFC above the current cap of $4.50 and forego federal AIP grants.”
Congress recognized the significant gulf between airports’ funding needs and actual Federal funding in 1990, when Congressman DeFazio successfully led efforts in the House to create the PFC as a non-tax user fee that, if harnessed properly, could help airports bridge the gap between capital investment needs and limited Federal funding. The PFC program was established in the Aviation Safety and Capacity Expansion Act of 1990, which authorized airport sponsors such as State and local governments, with FAA approval, to levy a fee of $1, $2, or $3 per enplaned passenger. That authority was amended just once since then, in 2000, when Congress authorized PFCs of $4 and $4.50 per enplanement.
The PFC was not indexed to inflation. Each subsequent year, despite a chorus of airports insisting on the need for an increased PFC to meet rebounding demand after the global economic crisis, Congress has done nothing to increase the PFC. that airports will require total investment of approximately $100 billion over the next five years, or $20 billion per year.