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Highlights

The Airport and Airway Trust Fund was established by the Airport and Airway Revenue Act of 1970 (P.L. 91-258) to help fund the development of a nationwide airport and airway system and to fund investments in air traffic control facilities. It provides all of the funding for the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) capital accounts, including: (1) the Airport Improvement Program, which provides grants for construction and safety projects at airports; (2) the Facilities and Equipment account, which funds technological improvements to the air traffic control system; and (3) the Research, Engineering, and Development account, which funds continued research on aviation safety, mobility, and environment issues. In addition, at various times during its history, the Trust Fund has funded all or some portion of FAA's operations. To fund these accounts, the Trust Fund is credited with revenues from a variety of excise taxes related to passenger tickets, passenger flight segments, international arrivals/departures, cargo waybills, and aviation fuels. Including interest earned on its balances, the Trust Fund received $10.8 billion in fiscal year 2005. The various taxes that accrue to the Trust Fund are scheduled to expire at the end of fiscal year 2007. GAO was asked to provide information and analysis about the financial condition and future viability of the Trust Fund.

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