Airport Finance: Preliminary Analysis Indicates Proposed Changes in the Airport Improvement Program May Not Resolve Funding Needs for Smaller Airports

GAO-07-617T Published: Mar 28, 2007. Publicly Released: Mar 28, 2007.
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To address the strain on the aviation system, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has proposed transitioning to the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen). To finance this system and to make its costs to users more equitable, the administration has proposed fundamental changes in the way that FAA is financed. As part of the reauthorization, the administration proposes major changes in the way that grants through the Airport Improvement Program (AIP) are funded and allocated to the 3,400 airports in the national airport system. In response, GAO was asked for an update on current funding levels for airport development and the sufficiency of those levels to meet planned development costs. This testimony comprises capital development estimates made by FAA and Airports Council International (ACI), the chief industry association; analyzes how much airports have received for capital development and whether this is sufficient to meet future planned development; and summarizes the effects of proposed changes in funding for airport development. This testimony is based on ongoing GAO work. Airport funding and planned development data are drawn from the best available sources and have been assessed for their reliability. This testimony does not contain recommendations.

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