President Obama signed the $787 billion stimulus bill into law yesterday, and in the bill's thousand-odd pages or so are a few things the airport and airline industry are both cheering and wishing for more of.
The airport industry is cheering the $1.1 billion in Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funding for "shovel-ready" infrastructure projects. But Airports Council International-North America President Greg Principato said last week that airports have $94 billion in vetted projects that could be ready to go shortly. Still, he praised the law's reach and pledged the airport industry's readiness to get to work.
The other element that has the airport industry cheering is relief from the Alternative Minimum Tax for certain airport private activity bonds. Before the stimulus package became law, some airport bonds were subject to the AMT penalty, and, with the credit crisis, the market for these bonds has all but evaporated. The law allows airports to re-issue some of their AMT debt to rid it of the penalty.
Although the airline industry welcomed the funding for NextGen (through NASA) contained in the bill, the Air Transport Association said it didn't go far enough. ATA had pushed for billions in ATC modernization project. The final figure was in the hundreds of millions, however.
As our colleagues say, watch this space for more news on how airports and airlines avail themselves of the funds provided for infrastructure projects in the stimulus package.