WASHINGTON, DC - June 13, 2012: This week in the Senate, AAAE Chairman Bruce Carter will participate in a meeting with members of the Democratic Caucus for a discussion on rebuilding America's infrastructure, focusing on job creation, the impact of budget cuts on infrastructure and investing in American infrastructure. Following that meeting, Chairman Carter will meet with US Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. While the House of Representatives is not in session this week, staff negotiations on the surface transportation bill continue, although it appears an extension will be required, as current authority expires at the end of the month.
AAAE Chairman Carter with DOT Secretary Ray LaHood and Deputy Secretary John Poracri.
AAAE Chairman Carter meets with Assistant Senate Majority Leader Richard Durbin (D-IL).
AAAE Chairman Carter and Senator Mark Begich (D-AK), Chairman, Steering and Outreach Committee.
June 13, 2012 | ALEXANDRIA, VA. -- In a meeting today on Capitol Hill organized by the U.S. Senate Democratic Caucus, AAAE Chair Bruce Carter, A.A.E., pressed lawmakers to provide airports with the tools they need to finance critical infrastructure projects and improve aviation safety.
Carter, the Director of Aviation at the Quad City International Airport in Moline, Ill., urged lawmakers participating in the meeting focused on rebuilding America's infrastructure to fully fund the Airport Improvement Program (AIP) and completely eliminate the federal cap on local Passenger Facility Charges (PFCs). He said both steps would help airports improve their portion of America's infrastructure, stimulate the economy and support jobs in their local communities.
Carter thanked the group of almost 20 Senators for passing a multi-year FAA reauthorization bill earlier this year that includes more than $3 billion per year for the AIP and supports more than 100,000 jobs annually. He also urged Congress to eliminate the outdated and arbitrary cap on local PFCs. He told lawmakers that even the President's modest proposal to raise the cap from $4.50 to $7 would generate an additional $90 million annually for airport projects in his home state of Illinois.
In a separate meeting with Assistant Majority Leader Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Carter discussed how Congress could also help airports self-finance their infrastructure projects by approving permanent Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) relief. The Senate-passed version of the highway authorization bill includes a AAAE-backed proposal that would temporarily exclude private activity bonds from AMT for bonds that airports issue before the end of the year.
Carter indicated that the Senate provision could save airports hundreds of millions of dollars this year. At San Francisco International Airport alone, approximately $50 million would be saved over the 30-year life of new bonds that the airport plans to sell this year. He noted that a two-year reprieve that Congress approved as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is expected to save airports approximately $1.8 billion.
AAAE has urged Congress to consider adding a broader AMT fix to the final highway bill, which House and Senate lawmakers are currently negotiating. "A permanent AMT solution would help airports reduce their financing costs over the long-term, allow them to invest in more infrastructure projects, and support even more jobs," Carter said.
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ABOUT AAAE: Founded in 1928, AAAE (www.aaae.org) is the world's largest professional organization representing the men and women who work at public-use commercial and general aviation airports. AAAE's 5,000-plus members represent some 850 airports and hundreds of companies and organizations that support the airport industry. Headquartered in Alexandria, Va., AAAE serves its membership through results-oriented representation in Washington, D.C., and delivers a wide range of industry services and professional development opportunities, including training, conferences, and a highly respected accreditation program.