While there has been a lot of talk in Washington and across the country about needing to invest in our nation’s failing infrastructure, few tangible steps have been taken to actually make this a national priority.
American airports face $100 billion in infrastructure needs over the next five years, and yet some members in Congress continue their efforts to prevent airports from funding these investments. They even criticize efforts to make airports more financially independent and lobby against modernizing user fees, calling it a tax on passengers.
This misrepresentation of airport financing options prevents airports from investing in the runways, taxiways, terminals and facilities that you the passenger rely on.
Let’s be clear: An airport’s local user fee can only be used for a very narrow set of projects at that airport — projects that directly benefit passengers. These user fees are collected locally, never going to Washington, and they remain at the airport and allow it to be more financially self-sufficient.
That is why we at Building America’s Future are so pleased that the U.S. Senate has produced a transportation funding proposal that puts real action behind the rhetoric by allowing airports to access local sustainable funding streams to upgrade their facilities, attract new air service and improve the passenger experience.
And that’s why we are calling for support from members of Congress, to engage in this effort to modernize airport infrastructure funding, allowing for real investment in South Carolina’s airports and airports all across America.
Infrastructure investments lead directly to economic benefits for communities throughout South Carolina. The state’s airports support 51,990 jobs today and have a total economic output of $4.5 billion per year. With more than $775 million in infrastructure needs over the next five years, work at the state’s airports has the potential to create another 17,000 jobs and millions more in economic output.
It is up to Congress to take the next step and give final approval to the essential infrastructure provisions in the Senate bill.
South Carolinians deserve updated facilities, lower airfares, shorter security lines and more airline competition. Let’s get to work.
President, Building America’s Future
The State publishes a cross section of the letters we receive from South Carolinians in order to provide a forum for our community and also to allow our community to get a good look at itself, for good or bad. The letters represent the views of the letter writers, not necessarily of The State.