April 24, 2012
Dear Indiana Congressional Delegation:
As the Senate marks up the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations bill, the Aviation Association of Indiana (AAI) seeks your support for certain provisions included in the bill, approved by the subcommittee on April 17, 2012. AAI supports the $3.35 billion included for the Airport Improvement Program (AIP), which helps to offset the cost of vital airport improvement projects, such as runway resurfacing and facility safety enhancements. In addition, AAI supports a provision that would allow smaller airports to benefit from a 95/5 cost share for certain AIP projects.
The recently-passed FAA Reauthorization changed the cost share for AIP projects from 95/5 to 90/10, which threatens many Indiana airport projects that have been budgeted and planned for years. The State’s budget that passed in 2011 planned for the State to continue to fund 2.5% of the eligible project, the airport paying for 2.5% and the FAA continuing to pay the 95% of the cost. The Indiana Department of Transportation has stated they do not have funds to cover the increased match and it is the local airports responsibility. As a result, if the local airport cannot find the extra 5%, the project will not move forward until the 10% match can be secured. If an airport cannot meet the match requirement, the FAA will transfer the grant money to other airports who can meet the grant requirement. This is a huge burden, especially, to phased projects at smaller airports that began before enactment of the FAA Reauthorization bill on February 14, 2012.
General aviation airports are the backbone of our country’s aviation system, comprising 90.2% of our nation’s airports. In addition, the general aviation industry is an integral part of the U.S. economy - creating jobs, generating revenue, attracting business and industry, providing a transportation lifeline to communities across the country, helping businesses succeed, and supporting people and communities in times of crisis. General aviation's overall economic output in the U.S. is estimated at $150 billion annually, supporting more than 1.2 million jobs. AAI encourages you to support the subcommittee’s approved funding level for AIP, and its effort to ease the blow of the cost share change for airports in FY 2013 to allow them to move forward with current projects as planned, and budget accordingly for the future.
Thank you for your consideration.
Members of the Aviation Association of Indiana