|The Airport Improvement Program (AIP)|
To promote the development of a system of airports to meet the Nation's
needs, the Federal Government embarked on a grants-in-aid program to units
of state and local government shortly after the end of World War II. This
early program, the Federal-Aid Airport Program (FAAP), was authorized
by the Federal Airport Act of 1946 and drew its funding from the general
fund of the Treasury. In 1970, a more comprehensive program was established
with the passage of the Airport and Airway Development Act which provided
grants for airport planning and development projects. These two programs,
the Planning Grant Program (PGP) and the Airport Development Aid Program
(ADAP), were funded from a newly established Airport and Airway Trust
Fund. By the time the two programs expired in September of 1981, approximately
$4.5 billion were approved for airport planning and development projects.
The AIP was extended for one additional year in 1993, and on August 23, 1994, President Clinton signed into law legislation to authorize FAA programs through Fiscal Year 1996. The AIP bill appropriated $1.69 billion in FY 1995 and $1.45 billion in FY 1996 for airport development programs nationwide.
On April 5, 2000, the President signed the legislation commonly referred to as "AIR 21" (Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century). This legislation included a four-year AIP authorization starting with FY 2000 and ending with FY 2003. Of the authorized $2.75 billion, the appropriated funding for FY 2000 was $1.81 billion, which is slightly less than the FY 1999 program. The AIR 21 legislation increased the minimum entitlement level for non-hub primary airports and the FAA's pilot "pavement maintenance program" was adopted and allows for "routine work to preserve and extend the useful life of runways, taxiways and aprons".
The Airport and Airway Trust Fund provides the revenue source used to fund AIP projects. Taxes and user fees are collected from the various segments of the aviation community and placed in the Trust Fund. These revenue sources include taxes on airline tickets and freight waybills, international air carrier departure fees, and fuel taxes on general aviation gasoline and jet fuel.
The 1982 Act, as amended, defined eligible airports into five categories: Commercial Service Airports, Primary Airports, Cargo Service Airports, Reliever Airports and General Aviation Airports. In Massachusetts, 26 airports are potentially eligible for AIP funding. Two of the 26, Logan International Airport and Hanscom Field in Bedford, MA, are owned and controlled by the Massachusetts Port Authority (MASSPORT). The remaining 24 airports fall under the jurisdiction of the Massachusetts Aeronautics Commission (MAC). Of these 24 airports, six are designated as Primary Airports, four are designated as Reliever Airports, and the remaining sixteen are designated as General Aviation Airports.
Funding for the AIP is distributed under specific guidelines contained in the 1982 Act, as amended. The FAA distributes entitlement funding for Commercial Service and Primary Airports based on the number of enplaned passengers using the airport. General Aviation (GA) Airports, including Reliever Airports, also receive their funding from the FAA, but individual states determine the distribution of funds based on a ceiling provided by the FAA.
The new AIR 21 legislation also includes provisions that come into play when the total Airport Improvement Program (AIP) amount for a year is at least $3.2 billion. One of these provisions provides that non-primary airports will be entitled to receive annual AIP funding of the lesser of $150,000 or 20 percent of their needed funding as shown in the current published National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS). Non-primary airports include commercial service, general aviation, and relievers. The current NPIAS is 1998-2002. A new NPIAS is expected to be published some time in 2001.
Funding of projects that qualify under the AIP are typically divided into three sources: federal, state and local. The Federal share of most projects is 90 percent of the eligible cost to be reimbursed under the AIP. The remaining 10 percent is usually divided between the state and the local airport sponsor. In Massachusetts, the MAC currently funds up to 7 percent of the non-federal share of projects under AIP, thereby relieving the local airport sponsor from a significant financial burden, resulting in a contribution from the host community of only 3 percent of the total cost of a project.
Grants for projects under the AIP are typically only given to publicly owned, public use airports with a few exceptions. Further, to be eligible for a grant, an airport must be included in the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS). The NPIAS, which is prepared by the FAA and published every 2 years, identifies public-use airports considered necessary to provide a safe, efficient, and integrated system of airports to meet the needs of civilian aviation, national defense, and the Postal Service. The NPIAS currently contains approximately 3,700 airports.
Recipients of grants are commonly called sponsors. Sponsors must meet basic qualifications set up by the FAA to receive AIP grants. In addition, a sponsor must be legally, financially, and otherwise able to assume and carry out the assurances and obligations contained in the project application and grant agreement. AIP grants are issued to airport sponsors for the following types of activities:
Capital Improvement Plan (CIP)
Projects determined to be eligible under the AIP are programmed by the FAA with input from state agencies into a "Capital Improvement Plan" commonly referred to as the CIP. The CIP is dynamic in that it often changes depending on several factors, including, but not limited to, the availability of funds, sponsor priorities, and readiness of the project sponsor. Given this uncertainty, it is important to limit the "out year" programming in order to maintain the integrity of the plan, and for this reason, the CIP is limited to 5 years.
The FAA Regional Office, with input from the Sponsor and MAC, develops the CIP for Primary Airports. Programming of discretionary funds is based on a priority system whereby airports compete against each other on a national basis. The MAC assumes responsibility of the CIP for GA and Reliever Airports and allocates moneys from state apportionment funding received from the FAA.w