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Billions in Airport Improvement Grants Released to U.S. Airports

Airport investment is continuing unabated as the Department of Transportation works to distribute $3.18 billion in airport improvement grants across all 50 states, announcing the local communities whose airports will benefit from this latest disbursement of funds.

These grants—the department’s sixth allotment of federal grants for FY2019—are just one way the government is working with airports and airlines to improve our aviation infrastructure. Airport improvement grants fund everything from runway reconstruction and rehabilitation to terminal construction.

Here are some recently awarded airport improvement grants:

  • Salt Lake City International will receive $7.7 million in grant funds to construct an apron to provide additional aircraft parking. The airport’s redevelopment is well underway with a $3.6 billion program, with the new facility scheduled to open next year.
  • Billings Logan International will receive a $2 million grant to expand its terminal building. That follows the announcement of a $55 million renovation and remodel of the main concourse, a project going forward in phases to minimize the impact on travelers.
  • Key West International will receive $1.7 million in grants to fund noise mitigation for homes near the airport. That follows last year’s completion of a $10 million runway renovation project funded by DOT, the Florida Department of Transportation and taxes paid by passengers.

Some would have you believe that passengers need to pay more in order to fund important airport improvement projects. In fact, some in Congress want to set an unlimited Passenger Facility Charge (PFC)—a tax on passengers—because it hasn’t increased since 2000. However, PFC revenues have doubled since 2000, growing at twice the rate of inflation, and are projected to hit a new record in 2019.

Travelers are already paying to support these improvements. Did you know that every time you travel—from purchasing a ticket, to buying food or beverage at the airport, to paying for parking—the taxes and revenues are supporting airport development?

Over $200 billion has been invested in airport improvement projects across the country since 2008. The latest round of airport improvement grants will only drive that number higher.

Passengers are already paying $6.9 billion each year in taxes to fund U.S. airports. And, an additional $7 billion is currently in the aviation trust fund—billions of dollars that could be spent on infrastructure instead of charging passengers more.

The numbers do add up, which is exactly why Congress should not raise taxes on passengers. Airports don’t need the money, and passengers don’t want an unnecessary tax hike.

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