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Highlights

GAO discussed the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Airport Improvement Program (AIP). GAO noted that: (1) from 1982 to 1992, FAA provided about $13 billion in AIP grants to help airports sustain or increase their safety and capacity; (2) airports receive AIP grants through three basic types of funding arrangements which include entitlements, legislatively-established projects and airport-specific set-asides, and discretionary grants; (3) FAA has made little progress in developing goals and performance measures to determine the benefits of improvements at individual airports; (4) FAA officials believe that the funding formula governing AIP provides little discretion over what types of projects and airports receive AIP funds, in what amounts, and for what purposes; (5) FAA believes its role is limited by the advent of passenger facility charges (PFC); (6) FAA has not taken a proactive role in developing AIP goals and performance measures due to formula restrictions, reliance on airport sponsors, and local assessment of PFC; and (7) FAA cannot assume a more proactive role in managing AIP because it lacks the management tools necessary to make sound funding decisions among competing projects.

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