2003 Adopted Resolutions
71st Annual Meeting
Denver

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RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF AIRPORTS IN THE 21ST CENTURY: INCREASED FUNDING FOR SECURITY AND OPERATIONS

WHEREAS, as owners and operators of the nation's commercial airports, mayors have a vested interest in the multi-year reauthorization of the Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment Act for the 21st Century (AIR-21); and

WHEREAS, The United States Conference of Mayors wants to underscore our strong support for increased security measures at our nation's airports; and

WHEREAS, it is now an undeniable fact that the health and overall competitiveness of the national and metropolitan economies are directly tied to the strength and performance of the nation's aviation infrastructure; and

WHEREAS, AIR-21 is scheduled for reauthorization in the midst of a decline in aviation travel resulting from terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 and continued weakness in the United States economy; and

WHEREAS, one of the longest running boom times in aviation history came to an abrupt halt on September 11, 2001 ending a 7-year period when the United States and world civil aviation achieved unprecedented growth in demand for aviation services and profitability; and

WHEREAS, over the last 18 months, the airline industry has lost billions of dollars from the loss of traffic volumes which has adversely affected income generated through landing fees leading to almost $1 billion of Airport Improvement Funds (AIP) being diverted from airport capacity projects to fund the Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) security enhancements; and

WHEREAS, airports estimate there remains $5.5 billion in additional projects needed to reach the goal of 100 percent in-line baggage screening by December 2003; and

WHEREAS, these security costs should not be confused with the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) most recent National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems which indicates that airports need $46 billion just for AIP-eligible projects between 2001 and 2005 or an increase from an average of $7 billion to $9.2 billion per year; and

WHEREAS, U.S. Department of Transportation Inspector General Mead said that striking a balance on how airports funds will be used for aviation system capacity, airport safety and security is a major issue in this reauthorization; and

WHEREAS, the Transportation Security Administration announced that it would not continue to reimburse airports for the use of local law enforcement officers; and

WHEREAS, The United States Conference of Mayors fully expects the Transportation Security Administration to have explosive detection systems in use at all commercial airports allowing it to screen every bag that goes on a passenger airplane by December 31, 2003,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that The United States Conference of Mayors call on the Administration and Congress to provide airports with the resources to carry out both their security programs as well as their airport expansion programs; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that The United States Conference of Mayors urge the Administration and Congress to establish a funding mechanism to pay for security capitol costs at airports and firewall the AIP account from TSA security needs; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that The United Stats Conference of Mayors urge the Administration and Congress to maintain current budget protections that aviation fees and charges collected from the public are invested in airports and related facilities and in safety and other improvements to the aviation system managed by the FAA; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that The United States Conference of Mayors fully expects Congress and the Transportation Security Administration through the Department of Homeland Security to provide both the direction and the means that will allow all airports to meet federal security requirements; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that The United States Conference of Mayors expects the Administration and Congress to fully reimburse airports and local government for the use of law enforcement officers meeting mandated TSA law enforcement responsibilities; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that The United States Conference of Mayors urges the Administration and Congress to increase funding in the Noise Mitigation category to allow the FAA to increase assistance to airports throughout the nation to better respond to the needs of residents located near our airports.