Dear Chairmen Shuster and LoBiondo and Ranking Members DeFazio and Larsen:
We write today in strong support of H.R. 1265, Investing in America: Rebuilding America’s Airports Infrastructure Act, which was introduced by Ranking Member Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY).
We believe that market forces—not the federal government—should be what drives a 21st century aviation policy in this country and strongly support a truly transformational FAA reauthorization bill.
To be truly transformational, Congress must remove the federal yoke from airport financing. We need to move to a system where airports are fully self-sufficient, instead of reliant on federal tax dollars. We need a system that will allow decisions to be made at the local level and a system where the users of airports bear the responsibility of paying for that use—not taxpayers. In order to do so, the Congress should remove the federally imposed cap on the Passenger Facility Charge (PFC).
The responsibility for financing infrastructure needs at airports should be borne by the airports and the travelers who use and directly benefit from those facilities. By removing the federally imposed cap on the PFC, airports can become self-sufficient and break their addiction to federal taxpayer dollars.
H.R. 1265 not only allows airports to meet the $100 billion in infrastructure needs they are now facing, it does so without a single penny of new federal dollars. In fact, H.R. 1265 reduces annual Federal spending by $400 million through the elimination of Airport Improvement Program entitlement grants for large hub airports that collect PFCs greater than $4.50.
America’s airports are powerful economic engines, generating more than $1.1 trillion in annual activity and supporting more than 9.6 million jobs. However, airports are facing $100 billion in unmet needs in infrastructure improvements to update aging facilities, relieve delays and congestion, promote safety and security, enhance the passenger experience, as well as spur airline competition to provide consumers with more choices and affordable options. Washington should get out of the way and allow airports to set a PFC that is in line with their local needs and one that reflects market realities.
Our neighbors to the north in Canada have been at the forefront of efforts to modernize the aviation industry. Not only have they successfully corporatized air traffic control, they have also given their airports the ability to fend for themselves and become financially self-sufficient. We believe strongly that we should follow suit and get Washington out of all aspects of the aviation industry.
Kent Lassman, President and CEO
Competitive Enterprise Institute
Jason Pye, Director of Public Policy and Legislative Affairs
Thomas A. Schatz, President
Council for Citizens Against Government Waste
Chuck Muth, President