White House Stakeholder Briefing: Airports

February 17, 2022

 

Ryan Berni, Senior Advisor, Infrastructure Implementation

A few weeks ago, the White House released a guidebook for state and local governments as a resource for stakeholders and is intended as a roadmap, and it contains the most comprehensive information the White House has to date on the more than 375 programs in the bipartisan infrastructure law. President Biden and the entire team here have made it a priority to make sure that we’re giving you all the resources that you need to make sure that this money hits the ground and reaches all corners of this country.

Stephanie Sykes, Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure Implementation

Sykes referenced the topic, as Ryan mentioned, is airports in federal aviation, and that as the White House is going through the series, stakeholders would hear from various departments that represent the various chapters in this book. Lastly, Sykes share that in the guidebook there are pages that give you the overviews of the session, each section.

Katie Thomson, Director, Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, U.S. Department of Transportation 

The conversation focused on FAA-specific programs, but you’ll also be hearing from Morteza Farajian, who leads the Build America Bureau, and they provide technical assistance and also oversee our loan programs which also provides funding for all sorts of projects. including aviation-related projects. She also mentioned focusing specifically on airport programs.

Brad Mims, Deputy Administrator, Federal Aviation Administration

The bipartisan infrastructure law will modernize infrastructure, increase equity and transportation help fight climate change, strengthen the supply chain, and create jobs across all modes of transportation. The FAA is grateful to be part of this transformational legislation through the investment of $25 billion to the National Airspace System. The laws funding will also provide a sizable down payment for us to address the physical condition of air traffic control facilities and improve safety and efficiency to our nation’s airports.

At the highest level of bipartisan infrastructure, the law provides $25 billion again over five years into three buckets that you see here. First, the $5 billion for FAA, air traffic facilities, and equipment. And those are things that you generally don’t see but maybe our attention is $15 billion for airport infrastructure grants Then another $5 billion for terminal program investments in airport terminals and airport own FAA-operated towers.

Randal Burke, Director, Technical Operations ATC Facilities and Engineering Services at Federal Aviation Administration

First of all, this money is not available for any application processes. This is the FAA’s money and responsibility to invest in these facilities but it will touch everywhere in the country. The first billion dollars is primarily going to be focused on power air and water. The foundation that our technology sits on is that technology allows air traffic to be controlled, and the FAA is located at 72,000 sites across the country. In the funding, 2.25 million is allocated to the sustainment activities that I talked about sort of power, air, water, and foundational activities. The Bill also includes 2.75 billion is for facility replacement. The 5 billion ATC facilities sustainment and replacement funding are about managing the land that the FAA operates on. This funding will also establish program goals around energy.

Robin Hunt, Deputy Director, Federal Aviation Administration Airport Division

The 15 billion over five years for the airport infrastructure program will primarily be distributed based on the formulas used under the airport Improvement Program entitlement funds. Up to 2.39 billion per year for primary airports is allocated and this will be allocated based on the existing apportionment formulas in the Airport Improvement Program statute, which is based on passenger traffic and cargo volume. up to 500 million per year is allocated for non-primary airports. That includes general aviation and commercial service airports that are not primary airports. This will be allocated based on an airport’s role in the national plan of integrated airport systems and is a fixed amount for each role in the National Aerospace System. Airports eligible for the airport infrastructure grant funding under Bill include primary, certain cargo airports, and most general aviation commercial service airports that are not primary airports. This amounts to approximately 3100 airports that will be eligible for the allocation. The 5 billion for investing in airport terminals and airport-owned air traffic control airport traffic control towers. This is both powers that are in the federal contract Power Program, as well as FAA staffed towers it will be distributed based on a competitive process that will be outlined in a Notice of Funding Opportunity. Again, 3% of this bucket is available for FAA administrative expenses. The law requires funding to be distributed based on the size of airports. With not more than 55% going to large hub airports, not more than 15% going to medium hub airports, not more than 20% going to small hub airports, and not less than 10% going to non-hub a non-primary airport.

Morteza Farajian, Executive Director, Build America Bureau

The Bureau provides technical assistance to those who want to look at innovative project delivery models, innovative financing options. The Burau has a couple of new grant programs also that will provide external technical assistance. A couple of examples of eligible projects are airport development terminal, development noise compatibility measures, converting vehicles, and ground support equipment to low emission technology as well as consolidated rental car facilities. access roads and transit rail facilities that connect the airport to other transportation systems.

Q&A:

Sykes asked how quickly will grants be awarded. Hunt said FAA plans to start awarding the airport infrastructure grant allocated grants in April or May of this year. and for the airport terminal grants. The FAA is hoping to announce those grants in June or July of this year.

Sykes asked how would made in American requirements be applied. Hall said Buy American requirements are in alignment with Executive Order (EO) 14005. Ensuring the future is made and all of America by all of America’s workers, specifically, information technology-related equipment. The EO provides a general waiver on by American Act requirements. However, the executive order also requires the foreign council to review a commercial information technology waiver and develop recommendations for lifting constraints to further promote fine American products. Hunt said the airports will need to comply with the traditional by American is part of our private airport emphasis. Airport Improvement Program AIP, as well as the build America Buy America requirements.

Sykes asked can the bipartisan infrastructure law funds be combined with airport Improvement Program funds on a project. Hunt said the FAA will allow sponsors to combine the project into the AIP and the bill programs, but the FAA will have to issue separate grants for each of the programs.

Sykes asked how equity will be prioritized in these projects. Hall said the FAA regularly hosts or participates in outreach events on how to do business with the FAA. These events, some of which are hosted by industry groups span a large range of socio-economic categories.

Sykes asked Hunt if funds will be available for air traffic control tower construction. Hunt said the answer to that is yes. The $20 million, which is allocated under the AIG the airport infrastructure grant funds are only for airport-owned federal contract towers.

Sykes asked will the bipartisan infrastructure law signs be the same. Each year over the term of the program. Hunt said the answer to that is no. The FAA expects that there will be changes each year and allocations, the extent of the change will be impacted on an airport, individual changes in claimants’ cargo data, or if the airport changes between the primary and non-primary categories, especially after FY2023.

Sykes asked if projects at small unclassified airports are eligible for funding. Hunt said no because they are not eligible for discretionary funds. and the law specifies that only airports eligible under 49 US Code section 40 715 A are eligible.

Sykes asked what the criteria will be for terminal building projects and will there be a limit as to what amount can be requested for a terminal project. Hunt said the criteria will be laid out in the Notice of Funding Opportunity, and it does cover the considerations included in the law, plus the preference to projects that achieved the complete development objective and prioritizes projects that have received partial awards in the presentation.