The Senate on Wednesday afternoon approved a Fiscal Year 2019 transportation spending bill that calls for an additional $750 million for airport infrastructure projects and a $3 million plus-up for contract towers.
The DOT spending bill was wrapped into a so-called "minibus" appropriations bill that combined four funding bills into one package. The House FY2019 DOT/FAA spending bill, which has been approved in committee but has not reached the House floor, proposes an additional $500 million for airport infrastructure upgrades and an additional $3 million for contract towers.
The Senate's proposal to provide an addition $750 million for AIP in FY19 comes on the heels of the FY18 omnibus spending package, which included an additional $1 billion for airport infrastructure projects. The FAA last month published two Federal Register notices that provide guidance to airports on the FY18 funding.
Despite another increase in AIP funding, the Senate bill does not propose to raise the federal cap on local Passenger Facility Charges. Last year, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a bipartisan proposal that would have raised the PFC cap to $8.50 for originating passengers. Unfortunately, the final FY18 omnibus spending bill did not contain the airport-backed PFC proposal, and Senate Appropriations leaders did not press for inclusion in the FY19 bill with the FAA reauthorization bill expected to come to the floor soon.