Today, Reps. Thomas Massie (R-KY) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) introduced the Investing in America: Rebuilding America’s Airport Infrastructure Act of 2019. The bill would eliminate the statutory cap on the Passenger Facility Charge (PFC), require that major airports wishing to charge a PFC greater than $4.50 to return 100 percent of their federal Airport Improvement Program (AIP) grant funding, and proportionately reduce the total annual AIP authorization by $400 million.
The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) has long endorsed these needed reforms and defended the PFC, a federally authorized local airport user fee, from attacks by airlines and their allied organizations who falsely conflate the PFC with federal aviation taxes in order to sow confusion in Congress and among the public.
“We applaud the bipartisan work of Reps. Massie and Blumenauer to modernize the PFC,” said CEI Senior Fellow Marc Scribner:
“This legislation promotes airport investment while simultaneously reducing federal spending. Air travelers will also benefit as new flexible PFC financing frees airports to build more terminal gates without anticompetitive airline strings attached, thereby enhancing airline competition and putting downward pressure on airfares. If Congress wishes to improve our nation’s airports, it must remove federal barriers to investment and devolve more decision-making to the local airports themselves. This bill admirably would move us in that direction.”
Rep. Massie and Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), now the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, previously introduced a version of this legislation in 2017. For more on PFC modernization, see Scribner’s March 2019 testimonybefore the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.