Dwight D. Eisenhower photo

Statement by the President Upon Signing Bill Amending the Federal Airport Act.

June 29, 1959

I HAVE today approved S. 1, "An Act to amend the Federal Airport Act in order to extend the time for making grants under the provisions of such Act, and for other purposes."

The Administration has strongly recommended that Federal money should be used exclusively for airport development projects which contribute to the increased safety of air travel. S. I takes a major step in this direction by prohibiting the commitment of Federal money for parking lots and airport building bars, cocktail lounges, night clubs, theatres, private clubs, garages, hotel rooms, commercial offices or game rooms.

The bill is not as conclusive, however, with respect to those parts of airport buildings intended for any other use. Federal money may be committed for their construction if, in the opinion of the Federal Aviation Administrator, they are essential for the safety, convenience or comfort of persons using airports for public aviation purposes. The dimensions of this latitude accorded the Administrator are supplied by the debate on this bill and by the whole history of this legislation. Thus viewed, the Administrator's discretion is very broad.

It is important that the bill and its legislative history do accord this breadth of discretion to the Administrator. The Administration recommended the expenditure over the next two years of $120 million devoted exclusively to projects designed to increase the safety of air travel. S. 1 authorizes the expenditure over the same period of $126 million, much of which might be required for projects unrelated to safety if the Administrator did not have the discretion that he does.

One other feature of the bill requires prompt corrective action by the Congress. Because Alaska is treated as a territory under the bill, it will be entitled to less than half the funds it should receive as a State.

Note: As enacted, S. 1 is Public Law 86-72 (73 Stat. 155).

Dwight D. Eisenhower, Statement by the President Upon Signing Bill Amending the Federal Airport Act. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/235081

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