77th Annual Meeting

MODERNIZING AMERICA'S AVIATION SYSTEM FOR THE 21ST CENTURY THROUGH THE REAUTHORIZATION OF THE FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION (FAA)

WHEREAS, the U.S. airline industry is an indispensable element of America's infrastructure and our nation's economic well-being; and

WHEREAS, commercial aviation drives $1.1 trillion in U.S. economic activity and 10.2 million jobs; and

WHEREAS, the aviation industry is in a period of economic turmoil and faces an uncertain future which has immediate and considerable effects upon cities throughout the U.S.; and

WHEREAS, dependence on oil, and in turn uncertain jet fuel prices, have exacerbated the troubles of the aviation industry, longer term issues such as an aging fleet, a 1950s navigational system, insufficient research and development into alternative fuels and engines that consume less fuel, and the elimination of routes must be addressed in the pending reauthorization of the FAA; and

WHEREAS, FAA authorizing legislation, Vision 100 - Century of Aviation Reauthorization Act(Vision 100), expired at the end of fiscal year 2007, and the agency has been operating under a series of funding extensions and continuing resolutions; and

WHEREAS, delays in reauthorizing FAA programs have hampered the planning and development of needed airport infrastructure projects; and

WHEREAS, the growing air traffic congestion and delay problems are the result of many factors, including inadequate investment in airport and air traffic control infrastructure; and

WHEREAS, according to the Commission on Future of the U.S. Aerospace Industry, estimates of the cost of aviation delays to the U.S. economy range from $9 billion in 2000 to more than $30 billion annually by 2015, and without improvement, the combined economic cost of delays from 2000-2012 will total an estimated $170 billion; and

WHEREAS, the Airport Improvement Program (AIP) plays an important role in financing airport safety and security projects as well as projects to relieve passenger delays and congestion and must be reauthorized at a higher level to ensure that adequate funding is available; and

WHEREAS, airport infrastructure investments will be challenged to continue without an increase in the Passenger Facility Charge (PFC), and when coupled with the devaluation of the PFC due to construction cost inflation, airports do not have the means of keeping up with the inflationary costs for the construction of runways, taxiways, terminals and gates; and

WHEREAS, aircraft operations in the vicinity of the airport and other airport sources emit nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds, which lead to the formation of ground-level ozone (smog), and other substances that contribute to local air pollution, as well as carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that rise into the atmosphere and contribute to climate change; and

WHEREAS, transportation accounts for about 30 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions and aircraft accounts for 12.5 percent of transport emissions; and

WHEREAS, the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) key environmental goal is to limit or reduce the impact of aviation greenhouse gas emissions on the global climate by more efficiently using the nation's airspace, which will lead to less fuel use and therefore having a positive greenhouse gas and air quality impact,

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that The U.S. Conference of Mayors calls upon the Congress to act now to reauthorize this FAA rather than utilizing continuing resolutions making it difficult for airport officials to plan future projects and the efficient transformation to the NextGen, which would convert that nation's radar-based air traffic control system into a satellite-based air traffic control system; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that The U.S. Conference of Mayors urges Congress to fully fund NextGen; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that The U.S. Conference of Mayors urges the Congress to authorize at least $3.8 billion in Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funding, with an increase of $100 million each year thereafter; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that The U.S. Conference of Mayors urges the Congress to raise the maximum Passenger Facility Charge (PFC) cap to $7.50 per flight and index this increase to inflation; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that The U.S. Conference of Mayors is urging Congress to reduce the aviation industry's dependence on oil and reduce aviation's environmental effects, including carbon emissions, by providing resources to finance research and development of alternative fuels and engines that consume less fuel and significantly reduce aircraft noise, and funding and technical assistance for many airport environmental activities; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that The U.S. Conference of Mayors is urging Congress to ensure that the proposed National Rail Plan and successor legislation to SAFETEA-LU and Vision 100 increase flexibility and streamline planning processes to encourage a more systemwide intermodal approach to transportation planning and development in order to deliver more integrated air and rail networks, whereby many short-range flights are replaced by high-speed rail (HSR) and intercity passenger rail (IPR); and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that The U.S. Conference of Mayors urges Congress to consider measures that help to promote service to our nation's metropolitan areas where significantly diminished due to financial problems in the airline industry; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that The U.S. Conference of Mayors is urging Congress to ensure that small communities continue to receive air service by fully funding the Essential Air Service (EAS) program.