Letter to the President of the Senate and to the Speaker of the House Proposing Extension of the Federal Airport Act.
I am transmitting herewith for consideration by the Congress a draft of legislation to amend the Federal Airport Act.
Without this legislation, authority under that Act would expire on June 30 of this year. The proposed bill authorizes additional obligations for a period of 5 years, ending June 30, 1966.
Continuing the program of Federal assistance to airports is essential to our national security, passenger safety, and economic growth. Air commerce, since the enactment of the Federal Airport Act in 1946, has grown so rapidly that many existing airport facilities are both overburdened and under-equipped. The increase in the speed, weight, and capacity of jet age aircraft has already antiquated many existing airports and threatens to outmode many more.
In addition, the expansion in general aviation has created a special need for the development of general aviation airports, particularly where this is necessary to relieve congestion at airports having a high density of traffic and serving other segments of aviation. For this reason, I have recommended that funds be specifically allocated to the development of such airports.
The bill has six major features:
1. The bill provides for a 5-year extension of the Federal Airport Act, with a $75 million per year obligational authority. Of that amount, $1,500,000 would be made available for projects in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands and $7 million for certain general aviation airports.
2. Funds apportioned under the Act but not obligated by grant agreements at the end of each fiscal year would be transferred to the discretionary fund.
3. In addition to high intensity runway lighting, there is Federal participation in the cost of land for approach light systems, in runway lighting and runway distance markers. This is an ever increasing safety need.
4. Instead of the requirement that a sponsor provide free space for air traffic control, weather reporting and communications activities, there is a provision that the Government be furnished without cost such interests in land as the Administration may consider necessary or desirable for the construction of facilities for such purposes. This permits greater flexibility and more efficient utilization.
5. The cost of constructing any part of an airport building is disallowed as a project cost except when a building is constructed to house facilities or activities directly related to safety of persons at the airport.
6. Alaska and Hawaii are permitted to participate for the first time on the same basis as other States.
This legislation is consistent with the current national airport plan for which provision is made in the Federal Airport Act.
JOHN F. KENNEDY
Note: This is the text of identical letters addressed to the Honorable Lyndon B. Johnson, President of the Senate, and to the Honorable Sam Rayburn, Speaker of the House of Representatives.
John F. Kennedy, Letter to the President of the Senate and to the Speaker of the House Proposing Extension of the Federal Airport Act. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/234704