The U.S. government assesses user taxes from airlines and passengers and uses that money to fund Airport Improvement Program (AIP) grants for the planning and development of public-use airports that are included in the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS). The AIP can fund up to 75% or 80% of the cost of airport projects.
Access the FAA website (Links to an external site.), and select the Airports tab. From there, choose “Airport Improvement Program,” and select “2018 Airport Improvement Program (AIP) Grants” or “2018-2020 Supplemental Appropriation.” Then download the PDF files for the List of 2018 Grants or Supplemental Projects. Scan through these lists, and select an airport project that interests you (maybe a local airport), and dig a little deeper into the project – maybe check the airport’s website, newspapers, and magazines, or even call the airport manager.
Write a short description (200–300 words) of the project, the funding, and other details about the project that you can find. Questions you might research:
- Will the improvement affect the airport’s capacity (number of flights, number of gates, passenger throughput, parking, car rental facilities, restaurants, security, etc.)?
- What percent of the cost is the grant covering?
- What is the timeline of the project?