House approves Graves bill to speed up federally financed airport projects

The U.S. House of Representatives on June 15 approved legislation introduced by U.S. Reps. Sam Graves (R-MO) and Garret Graves (R-LA) that would permit the use of incentive payments to expedite certain federally financed airport development projects. 

“This is a smart reform that can help deliver airport projects ahead of schedule, relieve operational disruptions at airports caused by unfinished projects, and save money,” Rep. Sam Graves, ranking member of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, told Aviation International News. “Getting projects done sooner rather than later can essentially provide a similar impact as increasing investment without requiring any additional federal resources.”

The Expedited Delivery of Airport Infrastructure Act of 2021, H.R. 468, which Rep. Sam Graves sponsored in January with cosponsor Rep. Garret Graves, would allow airports to use up to $1 million in Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funds for incentivizing faster completion of projects by awarding grants to public agencies and other entities, according to a bill summary provided by Rep. Garret Graves’ office.

“Overall, this is a win-win for airports and taxpayers alike,” said Rep. Garret Graves, ranking member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Aviation Subcommittee. “I’m looking forward to seeing this bill result in more efficient use of taxpayer funds, better flight options, and improved aviation safety.”

Under the bill, grants could be used for the planning, development and execution of infrastructure projects at public-use airports, including runways and taxiways, and would help get projects completed faster and at a better cost, the bill summary says.

“We need to make sure our airports are ready to handle the increase in travel — whether vacations, leisure or business trips,” Rep. Garret Graves said. “This legislation takes successful, existing road project programs and implements the same efficient practices to get airport improvement projects completed faster, meaning we will improve the efficiency and capacity of our airports while handling a runway or taxiway that is temporarily out of service.”

The U.S. Senate on June 16 received H.R. 468 for consideration.