AIP Funding for the Nation's Largest Airports

RCED-96-219R: Published: Jul 31, 1996. Publicly Released: Jul 31, 1996.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the potential effects of decreasing Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funding for the nation's airports. GAO noted that: (1) AIP funds may decrease in the future as a result of federal budget cuts; (2) the Federal Aviation Administration has the discretionary authority to allocate AIP funds that are not earmarked for specific projects on the basis of airport need; (3) large and medium hub airports received a total of $677 million in fiscal year 1995; (4) passenger facility charges (PFC), airport bonds, and airport revenue are the other major sources for airport capital development funds; (5) large and medium hub airports could increase these sources of capital to make up for AIP reductions; (6) large and medium hub airports that collect PFC must return up to 50 percent of their AIP apportionment to provide additional funding for smaller airports; (7) 68 percent of AIP funding was used for runway resurfacing or construction from 1982 through 1994; and (8) increasing capital funding from airport revenues such as landing fees is tenuous because of statutory limits on airport revenue.

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