The Department of Transportation has drawn fire from the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) for a plan to set aside for “current and future administrative support costs” $3.2 million of the $10 million appropriated by Congress under the Small Community Air Service Development Program. Created by Congress in 2000 to help small hub and non-hub communities achieve air service sustainability, the program drew a $10 million grant as part of the Fiscal Year 2008 omnibus appropriations bill. However, only $6.8 million will go to program grants to 16 communities due to the administrative set-aside. Those communities will receive between $100,000 and $750,000 each.
In a letter to DOT Secretary Mary Peters, AAAE president Chip Barclay called the 32-percent administrative allocation “unreasonably high.”
“By contrast, the Federal Aviation Administration received only $75 million in Fiscal Year 2007 to distribute more than 2,000 Airport Improvement Program (AIP) grants–or approximately 2 percent of the $3.5 billion that Congress appropriated for the AIP program that year,” Barclay wrote.
Barclay noted that based on the average grant award, $3.2 million could have funded another seven projects across the country.