Bureau of Aviation
Aviation Development Program (ADP, State)
The ADP is funded through the collection of state taxes on aircraft fuel that are deposited into Pennsylvania’s Aviation Restricted Account. These funds are typically used to pay for up to a maximum of 75% of the total eligible project cost and 50% of the non-federal share of federally funded projects. All licensed, public-use airports in the Commonwealth are eligible for the ADP grant.
Block Grant Program (BGP, Federal)
Pennsylvania became a Block Grant State beginning with Federal Fiscal Year 1998 and administers federal funds received from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The BGP funding is generated through taxes collected nationally on airline tickets, freight waybills, international departures/arrivals, and aviation fuel sales, which are deposited into the FAA’s Aviation Trust Fund. Each year, Congress appropriates funds for the nationwide Airport Improvement Program (AIP) with Pennsylvania getting its share of the total authorization through three different methods. The first is based on an area/population formula that provides what is called State Apportionment funds. The second is received as a result of the federal Non-Primary Entitlement (NPE) Program which provides an annual funding level (currently $150,000/year) that each non-primary airport is entitled to receive each year based on their projected need over a five year period. The third way funds are received is through Discretionary funding that provides grants for specific projects that have successfully competed against other projects nationwide for this funding. Discretionary funding fluctuates yearly and is NOT based on a formula. Since Pennsylvania manages the BGP on behalf of the FAA, proposed projects must meet all federal standards, eligibility requirements and grant assurances.
The BGP is only available to general aviation public-use airports and non-primary
commercial airports (those with less than 10,000 annual enplaned passengers) that are part of the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS) as approved by the FAA. The BGP funds are typically used to pay for total eligible project costs at designated Block Grant airports up to a maximum percentage as authorized and appropriated by Congress.
The NPE was established in Federal Fiscal Year 2001 and continues to provide entitlement funds each year for non-primary airports that are a part of the NPIAS. Under the provisions of 2004 AIP Reauthorization (Vision 100), NPE funds are now available for use for four years. This includes NPE earned in 2002 or later. These funds must be under grant by September of the fourth year or the airport will lose the ability to use the funds. All grants must be closed out by June of the fifth year. For example, 2002 NPE funds must be under grant by September 2005 and all funds expended so that the grant can be closed out by June 2006.
The BOA utilizes FAA Order 5100.39A, Airports Capital Improvement Plan to evaluate
project requests. This order defines the rating process and how to assign a score to a given project. This score is referred to as the “National Priority Rating” or NPR. Each year, a minimum “threshold” is established and any project with a score below this threshold is generally not competitive. Guidelines for use of NPE funds include:
• Projects must meet federal eligibility requirements.
• NPE will be the first source of federal funds used to issue a federal grant for an airport’s highest priority project.
• NPE funds should be applied to a single project if possible.
• Projects will not be automatically selected solely because a portion of entitlement is requested.
Capital Budget Program Transportation Assistance (TAP) Program
The Department of Transportation through the Bureau of Aviation manages the
Transportation Assistance Program (TAP) for non-highway projects, which are funded out of the General Fund and commonly referred to Capital Budget. The TAP program includes Transit, Rail Freight and Aviation Projects.
In order to provide an equitable distribution of funds, the BOA administers the aviation
portion of the TAP based on the provisions of the Aviation Code (74 Pa.C.S. Part III) and the BOA’s regulations found at 67 Pa. Code Chapter 473, dealing with aviation grants. The funding split for capital budget projects is as follows:
Real Estate Tax Reimbursement Program
• Federally eligible projects (State – up to 75% of non-federal amount)
• Non-federally eligible projects (State – 50% of the project amount)
Only those public-use airports that have an eligible Airport Sponsor and that have a project listed in an active Capital Budget Act are eligible to receive Capital Budget funds. It is also important to note that the project work scope listed in the Capital Budget Act cannot be amended and the project amount identified is the maximum allowable grant amount. In addition, the total project must be valued at $100,000 or more and all facility construction must have a minimum useful life of 30 years.
The Real Estate Tax Rebate Program allows reimbursement of local real estate taxes paid by qualifying owners of public airports each calendar year. The details of this Program may be found under Subchapter B of the Aviation Code (74 Pa. C.S. Sections 6121, 6122, 6123 and 6124) and 67 Pa. Code Chapter 477. The owner of a public airport shall be eligible for a grant from the local real estate tax reimbursement portion of the Aviation Restricted Account. This portion of the Aviation Restricted Account is funded by State taxes on aviation gasoline (Avgas) sales. These grants are available to reimburse airport owners for local real estate taxes paid on those portions of an airport that are aviation related areas, as defined in Section 5102 of the Aviation Code (74 Pa. C.S. §5102). Due to the limited revenue generated by the tax on Avgas, the Real Estate Tax Rebate Program grants are typically need to be pro-rated based on the revenues received for that year.
Prior to applying for a grant, each public airport owner is required to enter into an agreement with the BOA, the result of which becomes a legally binding Grant Assurance. This agreement (Grant Assurance) shall specify that the owner shall continue, for a period of not less than ten years, to maintain the property, for which the grant was sought, as an airport at least equal in size and capacity as that indicated in the owner's initial grant application. This agreement (Grant Assurance) shall be a covenant that runs with the land and shall apply to any subsequent purchases of land. Upon acceptance of any grant, the covenant shall be deemed extended for one additional year. Any violation of the agreement (Grant Assurance) shall make the owner liable for the repayment of the total appropriation for the year plus a penalty of two times the grant. In any action wherein the owner is found to have violated the agreement, PENNDOT shall receive all costs of prosecution. Each year, the final date for submission of applications for reimbursement of local real estate taxes paid in calendar year ending December 31, is the close of business on February 1, of the new year.
Aviation Education Grants
The Aviation Education Grant is available for currently licensed & employed teachers in Pennsylvania through a Pennsylvania university for the purpose of promoting aviation awareness and education in Pennsylvania’s schools (K-12).
Under the Aviation Education Grant, written to the university, the university agrees to provide a final report on the course when requesting grant payment, which must include:
• Detailed description of actual course activities and lessons.
• Number of students participating.
• List of student names, contact information, school where employed, grade taught, lesson plan developed through the course, plan of implementation.
• Detailed accounting of supplies/activities to be reimbursed by the grant with paid receipts.
The Bureau of Aviation (BOA) will pay for or reimburse only those amounts approved in the original grant, and those amounts expended in the course for in-service teachers only, and may publish lesson plans and program summaries on the BOA web site, newsletter or other publications (with credit given).