With negotiations in Congress underway over a third economic stimulus bill that would address the devastating economic impacts of COVID-19 (coronavirus), lawmakers have moved to address key components of our nation’s surface transportation infrastructure.
ASCE and its coalition partners have taken this action due to the $10 billion in airport infrastructure emergency funds needed to help continue airport capital projects and programs that are currently underway. According to recent reports issued from Airports Council International – North America (ACI-NA), airports are projecting $9 billion in lost revenue due to traveling reductions, $7.6 billion reduction in operating revenue, and a $1.1 billion drop in revenue for the Passenger Facilities Charge (PFC). Moody’s Investors Service has also indicated that this pandemic is putting local governments at an increased risk of credit downgrades on revenue-backed infrastructure projects for airports, hurting future infrastructure financing opportunities.
Needless to say, the aviation sector has been uniquely hit hard during this pandemic and as we look to withstand the impacts of COVID-19, critical investments are needed to ensure economic stability.
In ASCE’s 2017 Infrastructure Report Card, our nation’s aviation system received the grade of a “D.” In order to raise the grade, we must take serious steps to invest in our nation’s aviation system. ASCE urges Congress to support increased AIP funding, which is a major airport infrastructure investment program of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that provides grants to the nation’s airports for capital projects such as runways, taxiways, and major facilities; and PFC which are fees that an airport levees on each passenger enplaning at their commercial airport for infrastructure improvements.
Both the Senate and the House passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) (H.R. 748), which included the following provisions on aviation infrastructure:
- $10 billion is directed towards the grants-in-aid for airports/ Airport Improvement Program (AIP)
- $100 million of which is directed towards general aviation airports.
- $56 million is also included for the Essential Air Service (EAS).
In addition to the direct investment into our nation’s aviation infrastructure, the CARES Act includes a new loan and loan guarantee program fir the aviation industry which includes:
- $25 billion for loans and loan guarantees to passenger air carriers
- $4 billion for loans and loan guarantees to cargo air carriers
- $17 billion for loans and loan guarantees to “businesses critical to maintaining national security”
ASCE is continuing to support efforts by several Members of Congress and our coalition partners to include additional investment in our nation’s aviation infrastructure.
ASCE’s government relations team is continuing to stay actively engaged as Congress looks to combat the economic impacts of COVID-19 to ensure the needs of the profession are heard.