The Trump Administration on May 23 unveiled its detailed FY 2018 budget blueprint that proposes to slash discretionary funding across most of the federal government. Of concern to airports, the budget seeks to eliminate the TSA law enforcement officer reimbursement program, undo the federal mandate that TSA staff airport exit lanes and significantly reduce funding for the Essential Air Service program. And, despite continued efforts by the airport community to press for infrastructure investment self-help by eliminating the federal PFC cap, the budget misses an opportunity to make any PFC-related adjustment.
AAAE President and CEO Todd Hauptli reacted to the proposal by noting, “The Administration’s ‘skinny budget’ released earlier this year was thin on good ideas. Now the full budget is out-flat federal infrastructure funding for airports; a missed opportunity on PFCs; and proposals to shirk federal responsibilities on exit lane staffing and law enforcement officer reimbursement. It bears repeating – the Executive proposes and the Congress disposes.” The budget blueprint reiterates the Administration’s request for $200 billion in direct federal infrastructure funding designed to leverage a total of $1 trillion in spending through public-private partnerships and other means over ten years. There are no additional details, however.
As expected, the budget request also calls for corporatization of the Air Traffic Control system, a controversial proposal pushed by House Transportation Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.). Budget documents describe Shuster’s proposal as “an excellent starting point that would successfully separate air traffic control from the rest of the FAA, while maintaining this country’s sterling aviation safety record.”
Overall, the budget proposal includes $668 billion in defense spending, $22 billion above the current enacted level. It simultaneously seeks to reduce spending on non-defense programs by $57 billion to $479 billion. The budget includes a number of cuts to entitlements and other programs that are likely to face strong resistance on Capitol Hill.
AAAE Federal Affairs members can access a detailed summary of the FAA, TSA and CBP portions of the budget here.