Congress, not wanting to be faced with travel delays when going home from DC, has authorized the FAA to appropriate $250 million to end the furloughs plaguing the air traffic system. It is suspected that these funds will come from the Airport Improvement Program. The AIP funds, are those designated “federal funds” that the Aviation Department and supporters on the City Council are pointing to for the new single-terminal proposal at KCI. While there were already doubts as to their availability on the KCI proposal, those doubts are increased with this Congressional action.
The Kansas City Business Journal alertly reached out to airport officials and received feedback from Lee Metcalfe, executive director of the Johnson County Airport Commission.
“Unfortunately, AIP funding — which has been exempt from sequestration to this point — has been viewed by many as the path of least resistance in terms of necessary funding offset to keep the controllers on the job,” the memo said.
Metcalfe said the commission has planned $4.8 million in improvement projects at both Johnson County Executive and New Century that would have been financed with AIP funds.
If the bill uses funds from the account, the consequences will loom large for the Kansas City Aviation Department, which has suggested that AIP funds will help cover a portion of the proposed $1.2 billion renovation of Kansas City International Airport.
Kudos to Austin Alonzo at the KCBJ for jumping on this today.