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FAA aviation programs

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In the Recovery Act, an additional $1.1 billion was appropriated to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for the agency’s Airport Improvement Program. These funds will be used to issue discretionary grants to airports, with priority given to those projects that can be completed within two years. In addition, Congress appropriated $200 million to FAA’s Facilities & Equipment program, which finances major capital investments related to modernizing and improving air traffic control and airway facilities, equipment and systems.

Airport Improvement Program (AIP)

The AIP is funded by the Airport and Airway Trust Fund, which normally receives 100 percent of its funding from aviation-generated user fees, including passenger and cargo fees, fuel taxes and facility fees. AIP funding is available to airports that are part of the National Plan of Integrated Airports System (NPIAS). There are 77 airports in Iowa that are eligible for federal funding. Airports in Iowa Eligible for Federal AIP funding (map).

The AIP provides funds for projects to improve infrastructure including runways, taxiways, noise control, land purchases, navigational aids, safety and security. Although the FAA administers the AIP program, Iowa is a channeling state, which means general aviation airports and small commercial service airports are required to submit pre-applications for the AIP to the Iowa DOT's Office of Aviation. Pre-applications are typically submitted to the Iowa DOT in December. The Office of Aviation staff review the applications and recommend project prioritization to the Iowa Transportation Commission. After the Transportation Commission approves the prioritization, the pre-applications are forwarded to the FAA in accordance with their published deadline. The FAA reviews the pre-applications and recommends projects based on the AIP project prioritization and other qualitative factors. Projects must be eligible, justified and have appropriate planning in place prior to a project being programmed. After a project is recommended, the FAA will notify the airport when to begin designing and bidding a project.

Iowa’s FFY2010 AIP pre-applications were submitted to FAA in February 2009. The pre-applications included potential economic recovery discretionary projects for Iowa’s general aviation airports and small commercial service airports.

Primary commercial service airports submit their AIP applications directly to the FAA and receive awards from that agency, if selected for funding. No approval is required by the Iowa Transportation Commission. Primary airports are generally defined as those offering commercial service with annual enplanements of 10,000 or more. In Iowa, this includes: The Eastern Iowa Airport in Cedar Rapids; Des Moines International Airport; Dubuque Regional Airport; Mason City Municipal Airport; Sioux Gateway-Col. Bud Day Field; and Waterloo Regional.

In accordance with the Recovery Act, the U.S. Secretary of Transportation is required to award AIP grants totaling not less than 50 percent of the available funds within 120 days of enactment and award grants for the remaining funds no later than one year after enactment. Aviation funds are 100 percent federal share. On March 24, 2009, the FAA Central Region (includes Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska) announced that three Iowa airports were selected to receive ARRA-funded grants: one general aviation airport - Iowa City Municipal; and two commercial service airports – Sioux Gateway/Col. Bud Day Field and Waterloo Regional.

Facilities & Equipment (F&E)

The F&E appropriation provides funds to establish, replace, relocate, or improve air navigation facilities and equipment and aviation safety systems based on their operational uses. Recovery Act funds will be used to upgrade power systems ($50 million), air route traffic control centers ($50 million), air traffic control towers and terminal radar approach control facilities ($80 million), and navigation and landing equipment ($20 million).

Approximately 300 sites were selected by FAA for funding under this program. None of those sites are located in Iowa.

For more information about aviation funding, contact the Iowa DOT’s Office of Aviation:

Michelle Fletcher McEnany, director
Office of Aviation
michelle.mcenany@dot.iowa.gov
Ph. 515-239-1659