PHOTO: Lambert International Airport in St. Louis. (Photo via Flickr/JL Johnson)
On Tuesday, a study suggested airports in the United States need an estimated $100 billion for capital projects during the next five years, but they can only pay around half of the funds needed on their own.
According to Bloomberg.com, the Airports Council International-North America study found that airports across the U.S. are dealing with higher passenger and cargo activity, aging infrastructure and consolidation in the airline industry. As a result, cost projections for 2017 through 2021 are 32 percent higher than previous estimates.
The study was released as U.S. President Donald Trump shared his plans to invest $1 trillion into infrastructure across the country as part of a national rebuilding project that includes roads, bridges, tunnels and airports.
Airports Council CEO Kevin Burke said that airports want to be part of President Trump’s plan and the organization will ask Congress to “increase the amount that airports can collect through fees.”
Currently, airports in America average $10 billion in annual funds meant for capital work and another $3.5 billion a year in Airport Improvement Program grants from the Federal Aviation Administration. In addition, airports can add more revenue by issuing bonds and charging airlines and other businesses rent.
Other commercial airports operated by a public agency can charge separate fees of as much as $4.50 per passenger to fund FAA-approved projects, but the facilities are asking President Trump to raise these fees, dubbed the Passenger Facility Charge.
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On the other hand, trade group Airlines for America is advocating against airport-charge increases due to the belief that they will impact sales. Airlines for America also claims that airports in the U.S. aren’t in as bad shape as many of them claim.
Burke disagrees with the comments from Airlines for America.
“The longer we delay, America’s airports will fall behind, and our infrastructure needs become more expensive to fix,” Burke said in the Airports Council report.