Today the Department of Transportation announced $779 million worth of federal taxpayer grants to fund airport projects across the country. And there is plenty more to come as, Congress authorized airports to receive $3.35 billion from the Airport Improvement Program (AIP) and another $500 million from the general fund in 2019 for airport infrastructure.
Lawmakers have been celebrating these grants, and they are right to. These resources will help cities and states build and maintain 21st century aviation facilities. But these grant awards should also make members of Congress think twice about the need for raising taxes on their already overtaxed constituents.
The truth is that airport construction is booming, and AIP is just one of the many funding streams allowing airports to get projects off the ground. The Airport and Airway Trust Fund currently has an unobligated surplus of $7 billion and airports are sitting on cash reserves of $14.5 billion. Plus, airports took in a record $30 billion in revenue last year alone.
These staggering numbers show that we can keep the pot of money flowing into airport projects without reaching deeper into the pockets for American travelers. However, some airport officials are lobbying Congress to increase the Passenger Facility Charge, also known as the airport tax, that travelers pay on every leg of every flight. Passengers are already paying a record amount in PFC taxes – to the tune of $3.5 billion per year.
In contrast to most American infrastructure such as roads and bridges — which by all accounts are crumbling and out of funding — investment in airports continues to be a success story. Lawmakers should focus on the real infrastructure needs facing the country. Airports don’t need more money, and passengers don’t want a PFC increase.
To learn more about the PFC, visit www.stopairtaxnow.com.