U.S. Airports:

Selected Airports' Views on Federal Requirements

RCED-99-58R: Published: Jan 29, 1999. Publicly Released: Jan 29, 1999.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on airports' complaints concerning Federal Aviation Administration requirements, focusing on: (1) which federal laws, regulations, and administrative requirements potentially affect airports' development, operations, and financing; and (2) which federal requirements airport officials view as having a positive or negative effect on their airports and why.

GAO noted that: (1) the federal statutes, regulations, and administrative requirements that airports are subject to can be grouped into 11 categories, ranging from environmental, noise, and security requirements to bond rules; (2) many of these requirements, such as federal design and construction standards and federal contracting procedures, are tied to airports' acceptance of grant monies; (3) other Airport Improvement Program grants--a major source of federal aid to airports requires--that airport owners sign a series of assurances that the funds will be spent according to pertinent laws, regulations, or administrative policies; (4) officials responding to a GAO survey indicated that requirements in these areas had a generally positive effect because they provided guidance and structure to decision-making; (5) none of the categories elicited a majority of negative responses; though more airport officials indicated a negative effect than a positive one for two categories--federal environmental requirements and contracting requirements; and (6) those officials commenting unfavorably characterized these requirements as burdensome to administer or not cost-effective.

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