Denver International Airport:

Information on Selected Financial Issues

AIMD-95-230: Published: Sep 18, 1995. Publicly Released: Sep 26, 1995.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed selected financial issues relating to the Denver International Airport (DIA), focusing on: (1) DIA construction cost growth; (2) differences between the DIA financial consultant's report and audited financial statements relating to the Denver Airport System's bond debt; and (3) Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) jurisdiction over municipal bonds and the status and scope of its DIA investigation.

GAO found that: (1) DIA construction costs increased from an estimated $2.08 billion in May 1990 to $3.004 billion in February 1995; (2) the cost increases were due to changes in the scope of DIA and capitalized interest increased by $300 million due to the delay in DIA opening; (3) the two financial reports on DIA differed mainly due to their different purposes and the different time periods and scopes covered; (4) the financial statements covered both DIA and the Stapleton International Airport, while the consultant's report presented financial forecasts only for DIA based on certain assumptions about future events; (5) the differences in annual bond debt payments reflected the consultant's assumption that certain bonds would be refinanced in 1995, bond principal would be prepaid, lower interest rates would be paid on variable rate bonds, and passenger facility charges would be used to reduce annual debt service amounts; (6) the audited financial statements included all airport system debts while the consultant's report included only DIA construction bond debt; (7) municipal bonds are exempt from securities registration requirements and civil liability provisions, but they are subject to antifraud provisions; and (8) SEC is investigating DIA disclosures of its baggage system issues under its antifraud authority.

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