From 2005 March

Senators yesterday told U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta that the Administration's proposed cuts for airport projects and the Essential Air Service (EAS) program are shortsighted, signaling that the Senate may try to restore money to both areas.

Cutting Airport Improvement Program (AIP) money is an example of the Administration's balancing the books at the expense of "critical transportation infrastructure programs," said Senate Appropriations transportation subcommittee Chairman Christopher Bond (R-Mo.). "I am at a loss to understand why [AIP] remains in the sights of the budget gnomes," he said, particularly when traffic is rising quickly again.

FAA's Fiscal Year 2006 budget cuts AIP spending by 14% to about $3 billion (DAILY, Feb. 8). Mineta told the subcommittee this is still "sufficient to take care of applications for capacity-building projects like runways, taxiways and tarmac." Mineta highlighted the Administration's belief that airports aren't taking advantage of the passenger facility charges (PFCs) they are allowed to impose. There is still $350 million-$400 million available to airports because many don't charge the full PFC, Mineta said.

Subcommittee Ranking Democrat Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said if airports increased PFCs -- which are collected through ticket taxes -- it would be a "double whammy" for airlines on top of the security fee increases the Dept. of Homeland Security is proposing.

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Topics of Interest

Although some lawmakers are complaining that money for homeland security and transportation funds aviation at the expense of other modes, members of Congress and lobbyists who deal with industry...

FAA for the second year in a row proposed hefty cuts to its Airport Improvement Program (AIP) in its budget request, and airports will have to wait to see whether Congress will again restore the axed...

There is "not a prayer" that a proposed $3 increase in the airline ticket security fee would be passed on to passengers but would come from the airline industry's bottom line, Air Transport...

The Transportation Security Administration's Fiscal Year 2006 budget request would "substantially decrease fee collection estimates for the air carrier security fees" from the FY2005 amounts, reducing...

Mineta Surprises DOT, Industry With Resignation, Jun 23, 2006 U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta on Friday stunned nearly everyone in Washington and the aviation industry...