Falling energy prices are good for everyone, right? Not when it comes to airports.
While lower fuel prices may be a good thing for consumers, Colorado’s 74 airports are taking a hit. The Colorado Aeronautical Board has informed airport managers that it will cut $12 million from the 2015 aviation grants award program used to fund infrastructure projects, all because jet fuel sales are down.
The Colorado Discretionary Grant Program offers the state’s public-use airports matching funds to go after federal Airport Improvement Program (AIP) money. Those funds can be used to pay for things like runway repairs and expansion, terminal remodeling and snow removal equipment.
In 2014, the state and local communities kicked in more than $25 million in matching funds to airports.
But that money will be cut in 2015. The grant program is funded mainly by jet fuel sales, and as prices have fallen, so have forecast revenues, according to the Colorado Division of Aeronautics.
So airports will either have to put off necessary infrastructure projects or cut back on the costs to implement them.
According to Airports Council International-North America’s 2013 Capital Needs Study, commercial and general aviation facilities currently have $71.3 billion in total projects that are considered essential. Forty-three percent of the development is intended to rehabilitate existing infrastructure, maintain a state of good repair, and keep airports up to standards for the aircraft that use them.