House advances legislation seeking to expedite airport infrastructure projects

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The U.S. House of Representatives advanced Tuesday legislation introduced by U.S. Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA), ranking member of the House Subcommittee on Aviation, that would expedite airport infrastructure projects.

The Expedited Delivery of Airport Infrastructure Act of 2021 will allow airports to use up to $1 million in Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funds to incentivize early completion of airport infrastructure projects, saving taxpayers money and delivering projects faster.

“We need to make sure our airports are ready to handle the increase in travel – whether vacations, leisure, or business trips,” Graves said. “This legislation takes successful, existing road project programs and implements the same efficient practices to get airport improvement projects completed faster, meaning we will improve the efficiency and capacity of our airports while handling a runway or taxiway that is temporarily out of service. Overall, this is a win-win for airports and taxpayers alike. I’m looking forward to seeing this bill result in more efficient use of taxpayer funds, better flight options, and improved aviation safety.”

The legislation will allow airports, including those with short construction seasons or disruptive airfield projects, to use the AIP money to incentivize contractors to complete a project early. Under the current law, airports cannot use AIP funds for incentives, even if the early completion would result in significant capacity or efficiency gains.

Similar incentives are common in surface transportation construction, and early completion of airport projects would result in similar cost savings, Graves said.

U.S. Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO), ranking member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, co-sponsored the bill, which now moves on to the Senate.