CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
On Tuesday, June 21, 2016, the House will consider H.R. 4369, to authorize the use of passenger facility charges at an airport previously associated with the airport at which the charges are collected, under suspension of the rules. The bill was introduced on January 13, 2016, by Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA) and referred to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.
H.R. 4369 permits the Department of Transportation to authorize the use of a passenger facility charge (PFC) to finance an eligible airport-related project if: the eligible agency seeking to impose the new charge controls an airport where a $2 passenger facility charge became effective on January 1, 2013; and such airport and the airport at which the project will be carried out were under the control of the same eligible agency on October 1, 2015. Not more than $120 million in passenger facility charges collected may be used to carry out such a project.
In 1990, federal deficits and expected tight budgets led to concerns that the Airport and Airway Trust Fund and other existing sources of funds for airport development would be insufficient to meet national airport needs. This led to authorization of a new user charge, the Passenger Facility Charge (PFC). The Aviation Safety and Capacity Expansion Act of 1990 allowed the Secretary of Transportation to authorize public agencies that control commercial airports to impose a fee on each paying passenger boarding an aircraft at their airports. Initially, there was a $3 cap on each airport’s PFC and a $12 limit on the total PFCs that a passenger could be charged per round trip.
The PFC is a state, local, or port authority fee, not a federally imposed tax deposited into the Treasury.3
Legislation in 2000 raised the PFC ceiling to $4.50, with an $18 limit on the total PFCs that a passenger can be charged per round trip. To impose a PFC above $3 an airport has to show that the funded projects will make significant improvements in air safety, increase competition, or reduce congestion or noise impacts on communities, and that these projects could not be fully funded by using the airport’s Airport Improvement Program (AIP) formula funds or AIP discretionary grants. PFCs at large and medium hub airports may not be approved unless the airport has submitted a written competition plan to the FAA, which includes information about the availability of gates, leasing arrangements, gate-use requirements, controls over airside and ground-side capacity, and intentions to build gates that could be used as common facilities.
The FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 included minor changes to the PFC program. The act made permanent the trial program that authorized non-hub small airports to impose PFCs.
H.R. 4369 will help facilitate the transfer of Ontario International Airport to local authorities.
A Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimate is not available at this time.
For questions or further information please contact Robert Goad with the House Republican Policy Committee by email or at 6-1831.