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Compilation of State Airport Authorizing Legislation (2012)

Chapter: I. ORGANIZING AND EMPOWERING AIRPORT ENTITIES

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Suggested Citation:"I. ORGANIZING AND EMPOWERING AIRPORT ENTITIES ." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Compilation of State Airport Authorizing Legislation. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22735.
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Suggested Citation:"I. ORGANIZING AND EMPOWERING AIRPORT ENTITIES ." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Compilation of State Airport Authorizing Legislation. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22735.
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Suggested Citation:"I. ORGANIZING AND EMPOWERING AIRPORT ENTITIES ." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Compilation of State Airport Authorizing Legislation. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22735.
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Suggested Citation:"I. ORGANIZING AND EMPOWERING AIRPORT ENTITIES ." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Compilation of State Airport Authorizing Legislation. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22735.
×
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Suggested Citation:"I. ORGANIZING AND EMPOWERING AIRPORT ENTITIES ." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Compilation of State Airport Authorizing Legislation. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22735.
×
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Suggested Citation:"I. ORGANIZING AND EMPOWERING AIRPORT ENTITIES ." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Compilation of State Airport Authorizing Legislation. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22735.
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3 COMPILATION OF STATE AIRPORT AUTHORIZING LEGISLATION By Jodi L. Howick, Esq. Durham, Jones & Pinegar, Salt Lake City, Utah INTRODUCTION State law provides the means to empower actions taken by an airport operator. State statutes also set local aviation policy, protect airport functions, and regulate some of the public and private interests that converge at an airport. This study compiles broad areas of state law that are enacted specifically to address air- port functions. Each section identifies an area where states enact legislation to govern airports, and the text discusses common legal approaches and variations. To provide context for these areas, the study also notes some of the significant federal laws that relate to a given area and includes examples of cases interpreting these state laws in the courts. I. ORGANIZING AND EMPOWERING AIRPORT ENTITIES Most United States airports are government entities, and as such, state laws provide the means to create an airport entity and to authorize its operating powers. An airport entity’s local powers are essential to allow it to operate and meet its federal obligations. The federal government recognizes the importance of these state powers. As a part of the grant assurance agreements that airport entities must enter to obtain federal funds, these entities must agree to protect their local powers and not permit any action that would deprive them of the rights and powers necessary to conduct airport op- erations.1 The laws of all states provide for a number of com- mon governmental structures that may be used to own and operate an airport. The government unit that is the airport’s proprietor determines the choice of structure. State laws then enumerate the powers that an airport proprietor may exercise under each such structure. This section reviews the common structures under which airport entities may be organized, and it then reviews how states typically empower airports to operate. 1 Under Assurance No. 5, Preserving Rights and Powers, an airport must not take or permit any action which would operate to deprive it of any of the rights and powers necessary to perform any or all of the terms, conditions, and assurances in the grant agreement without the written approval of the Secretary, and will act promptly to acquire, extinguish or modify any outstanding rights or claims of right of others which would interfere with such performance by the sponsor. Grant Assurance No. 5, http://www.faa.gov/airports/aip/grant _assurances/media/airport_sponsor_assurances.pdf. A. Common Structures Used for Airport Entities State laws create a variety of structures under which units of government can conduct airport operations. Some of these structures, such as a city or county, are designed to conduct general government, and the opera- tion of an airport constitutes one activity among many that the entity pursues. Other structures are instead designed to provide for the operation of a specific activ- ity. The common state structures under which airport entities may be organized are summarized below. Direct State Ownership and Operations. In most states, the state itself may directly own and operate airports. States typically grant this power to a state department of transportation, a state aeronautics agency (which may be a part of a department of trans- portation), or a department of public works. While most states give themselves this power, state laws may or may not prioritize direct airport ownership by the state. In a few states, such as Alaska and Hawaii, state laws make the state, acting directly through one of its departments, a primary means for owning and operat- ing airports within the state. Other provisions of state law also can help facilitate state ownership. For exam- ple, Connecticut’s state laws give the state a right of first refusal to purchase privately owned, public-use airports.2 In Vermont, the law expressly gives the state the ability to acquire or lease airports that are no longer being operated, including by condemnation.3 Illi- nois statutes allow the state to own and control airports in an adjoining state if the adjoining state provides re- ciprocal rights.4 These laws thus enhance a state’s abil- ity to acquire and operate airports. Policies regarding state involvement, however, can differ. For example, Colorado statutes do not address direct action by the state, but provide that the state can combine with cities, towns, or counties to create airport authorities.5 Other states’ laws permit the state to cre- ate autonomous airport authorities or corporations.6 State policies regarding ownership by the state may 2 See CONN. GEN. STAT. § 13b-50a (through 2010 Feb. Reg. Sess., June Sp. Sess., and July Sp. Sess.). 3 See VT. STAT. ANN. tit. 5, § 804 (through 2009–2010 Adj. Sess.). 4 See, e.g., 620 ILL. COMP. STAT. ANN. 5/25.02 to 5/25.04 (through 2010 Reg. Sess., P.A. 96-1496). 5 See COLO. REV. STAT. ANN. § 41-3-102 (through 2010 2d Reg. Sess.). 6 For example, see R.I. GEN. LAWS § 42-64-4 (through 2010 Jan. Sess., ch. 320) (creating corporate entity to own and oper- ate airports for the state).

4 extend to other aeronautical facilities as well, such as those for air navigation or for state military purposes.7 State Authorities and Corporations. Some state laws allow the state to create an airport authority or corpo- ration that can own and operate airports on behalf of the state. These entities are political subdivisions of the state that are empowered to act independently from other state agencies. These laws often specifically name the entities that they create, such as the Virginia Avia- tion Board8 or the Rhode Island Airport Corporation.9 The law may give these entities authority to act as the proprietor for airports across the state, or it may em- power an authority to operate in a specific area, such as the Metropolitan Airports Commission in Minneapolis or the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority. Local policy on the use of state authorities varies. Some states do not adopt express acts providing for the creation of an airport authority. Others adopt these acts and include additional specific policies. For example, in Idaho, the law creates regions within the state in which airport authorities are authorized to develop and oper- ate an airport.10 Michigan and California legislation also provide for the creation of authorities and allow the transfer of an airport, or operational jurisdiction for an airport, into the new authority.11 Conversely, Alaska state law imposes restrictions on transferring specified state airports into an authority structure.12 State Compacts. In limited circumstances, states en- ter compacts creating multi-state authorities to own and operate an airport that serves a number of states. These compacts are generally codified as a part of state law, and they specify the airport entity’s powers and jurisdictional limitations. Examples include the Dela- ware-New Jersey Compact, the Quad Cities Interstate 7 For example, see MASS. GEN. LAWS ANN. ch. 90, § 39A (through 2011 1st Ann. Sess., ch. 56) (regarding air navigation facilities). 8 See VA. CODE ANN. § 5.1-2.1 (through 2010 Reg. Sess.). 9 See R.I. GEN. LAWS § 42-64-4 (through 2010 Jan. Sess., ch. 320); In re Advisory Opinion to Governor, 627 A.2d 1246 (R.I. 1993) (the Rhode Island Airport Corporation is a public corpo- ration that operates state airports as a subsidiary of the state’s Port Authority and Economic Development Corporation). 10 IDAHO CODE ANN. § 21-802 (through 2010 2d Reg. Sess.). 11 See Wayne County Bd. of Comm’rs v. Wayne County Air- port Auth., 253 Mich. App. 144, 658 N.W.2d 804 (Mich. Ct. App. 2002) (Michigan adopted an Airport Authority Act that permits the transfer of an airport’s operational jurisdiction from the local government owning the airport to an airport authority that is an instrumentality of such local government; at one airport where evidence of mismanagement had been found, the Act automatically transferred such jurisdiction and the Act was upheld against challenges under state constitu- tional clauses regarding special legislation and impairment of contracts and claims that the new entity’s powers could not exceed those of the local government owner). See also CAL. PUB. UTIL. CODE § 170000 et seq. (through 2011 Reg. Sess., ch. 28 and 2011–2012 1st Ex. Sess., ch. 2) (creating San Diego County Regional Airport Authority). 12 See ALASKA STAT. § 29.35.722 (through 2010 Reg. Sess.). Metropolitan Authority, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and arrangements for the Metropoli- tan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA). Arrange- ments for MWAA may be unique in how they involve the federal government. MWAA is created as an airport authority under Virginia law, and it exercises powers conferred by both Virginia and the District of Columbia in accordance with federal legislation (the federal gov- ernment is the facility’s landlord). Consistent with a multistate authority structure, however, MWAA’s man- agement is independent of Virginia, its local govern- ments, the District of Columbia, and the United States Government.13 Municipal Airports. States differ when defining what constitutes a “municipality.” Some use the term to refer only to a city, while others use it to refer to cities, towns, counties, and other political subdivisions that provide general government over a locale. All states except Hawaii and Rhode Island empower municipali- ties (defined broadly) to own and operate airports. Airport operations are normally just one component of a municipality, and the statutes providing for air- ports are normally included as part of a broader mu- nicipal empowerment act. Some of these laws, however, address specific aspects of municipal airport ownership. For example, state statutes often specify that munici- palities may own and operate airports within or without their own territorial limits or the limits of the state. A few also restrict how an airport can be owned and oper- ated, such as by designating a specific department or division that must operate the airport or specifying that the municipality may so designate.14 Municipal Delegations. States, when empowering municipalities to act as airport entities, also normally empower them to delegate management responsibilities for a municipal airport to an officer, board, body, or commission.15 Municipalities do not create a political subdivision when making this delegation; they only transfer some of their own airport management powers. When making such a delegation, the municipality is the airport’s owner and is responsible for airport expenses. A municipal delegation creates a management struc- ture for the airport’s development, operations, and regulation, and it may include a delegation of authority to establish fees and charges at the airport as well. Generally under such a delegation the municipality must prescribe the powers and duties of the person or body receiving the delegation. State laws may allow a municipality to delegate additional powers as well. For 13 49 U.S.C.A. § 49106; VA. CODE ANN. § 5.1-153 (through 2010 Reg. Sess.). 14 See MO. ANN. STAT. §§ 305.170, 305.240 (through 2010 1st Ex. Sess); KAN. STAT. ANN. §§ 3-114 and 3-126 (through 2010 Reg. Sess.) (requiring operation of certain airports through a municipality’s board of park commissioners or board of public utilities). See also App. A: State Codes (noting state statutory sections governing airports). 15 See, e.g., ARK. CODE ANN. § 14-361-110 (through 2010 Fis. Sess., incl. ARK. CODE REV. COMM. to Sept. 30, 2010).

5 example, Washington statutes allow the recipient of the delegation to manage a separate industrial or commer- cial development at the airport.16 Municipal Authorities. States may permit a munici- pality not only to delegate management functions for an airport, but also to create a separate entity in which the municipality vests its airport interests. Unlike a mu- nicipal delegation (or joint airport ownership, as de- scribed below in this section), an airport authority cre- ated by a municipality is a political subdivision of the state, and it constitutes a corporate entity that gener- ally is solely responsible for operating the airport. Mu- nicipally created authorities typically exercise their own executive and legislative powers. State law also may specify additional terms to gov- ern these municipally created entities. In general, the law may permit their creation by one municipality or by several municipalities acting together. It also may re- quire these entities to make use of a specified format. For example, Arkansas requires the use of a public cor- poration incorporated to exercise airport powers, Kan- sas requires these authorities to be created by a mu- nicipality’s ordinances, and Nebraska requires a jointly created authority to be formed by an interlocal agree- ment.17 States also may prescribe requirements to gov- ern such an entity’s operations or procedures to govern its board. Other powers may apply as well. For exam- ple, Colorado allows these entities to be a special pur- pose district having the power to levy a tax.18 Special Purpose Districts. State laws may allow mu- nicipalities to create special purpose districts to operate an airport and may designate those districts by describ- ing them as airport districts, transportation districts, or development districts. These districts may extend across multiple jurisdictions within the state. They are political subdivisions that function as municipalities for a specific purpose rather than to provide general gov- ernment. A special purpose district normally has the same power to acquire, develop, and operate an airport as other airport entities. It also may have the power to collect taxes and issue bonds as a municipality.19 A spe- cial purpose district is usually described as being “de- pendent” or “independent” to specify its degree of 16 See WASH. REV. CODE ANN. § 14.08.120 (through 2011, chs. 1 & 2). See also App. A: State Codes (noting state statutory sections governing airports). 17 See ARK. CODE ANN. §§ 14-138-101, 14-138-102 (through 2010 Fis. Sess., incl. ARK. CODE REV. COMM. to Sept. 30, 2010) (incorporate public corporation); KAN. STAT. ANN. § 3-162 (through 2010 Reg. Sess.) (establish authority by ordinance); NEB. REV. STAT. § 3-702 (through 2010 2d Reg. Sess.) (create authority by interlocal agreement). 18 See COLO. REV. STAT. ANN. §§ 41-3-104, 41-3-105 (through 2010 2d Reg. Sess.). See also App. A: State Codes (noting state statutory sections governing airports). 19 For example, see LA. REV. STAT. ANN. §§ 2:311, 2:312 (through 2010 Reg. Sess.) (power to tax and issue bonds). autonomy when acting in relation to another jurisdic- tion.20 Port Authorities. Port authorities or districts gener- ally oversee maritime functions, although an entity designated as a port authority or district may be used for other purposes as well. These entities are usually created using the basic structures described above in this section. Some port authorities are specifically em- powered to own and operate an airport, such as the Massachusetts Port Authority or the Port of Portland. Others are empowered to operate an airport as one of many port powers, such as ports created under Illinois statutes that routinely authorize airport ownership.21 The actual airport operations conducted by a port au- thority or district may vary. When these entities oper- ate an airport, those operations generally constitute a smaller function within the port structure. Universities. Some state higher education institu- tions, such as the Oklahoma State System of Higher Education, are specifically empowered to own and oper- ate airports.22 When universities have this authority, the state may allow them to operate the airport for more than educational purposes. For example, Purdue University has authority to declare portions of its air- port to be a public airport.23 The University of North Carolina is empowered to create an airport authority that is a political subdivision for its facility.24 The state may authorize these airport entities to pursue develop- ment activities as well. For example, the University of Illinois is empowered to enter agreements for federal airport funding or to enter trust indentures or other engagements in connection with airport development.25 Joint Ownership. State laws may allow airport enti- ties to operate an airport as joint owners. Normally this occurs when two airport entities agree to jointly exer- cise or delegate their management powers over an air- port. State laws sometimes specify what entities may participate as joint owners of an airport by expressly authorizing them to include municipalities, the State, 20 See Berry v. Milliken, 234 S.C. 518, 109 S.E.2d 354 (S.C. 1959) (upholding state’s ability to use special purpose districts for airport operations without regard to availability of other types of structures). See also App. A: State Codes (noting state statutory sections governing airports). 21 See 70 ILL. COMP. STAT. ANN. 1801/20 to 1865/4.6 (through 2010 Reg. Sess., P.A. 96-1496). 22 See OKLA. STAT. ANN. tit. 70, § 4305 (through 2011 1st Reg. Sess.) (authority to accept grants of federal airport prop- erty and hold and operate the same). 23 See IND. CODE ANN. § 21-31-7-1 (through 2010 2d Reg. Sess.) (allowing Purdue University to declare all or part of its airport public). 24 N.C. GEN. STAT. ANN. § 116-11 (through 2010, ch. 18) (University of North Carolina Board of Governors may create airport authority). 25 See 110 ILL. COMP. STAT. ANN. 400/1 (through P.A. 97- 615, with the exception of P.A. 97-333 and P.A. 97-597, of the 2011 Reg. Sess.) (power to seek grant to develop airports).

6 or the United States.26 Joint owners typically enter an agreement to specify the extent of each party’s financial or other participation for the airport. For example, Oklahoma state law requires that joint airport owners create a joint board to conduct operations, and it dis- cusses the terms to be included in an agreement.27 A joint board (or other designated operator) normally may exercise all the airport powers of the participating enti- ties. Private Operators. State law may allow government entities to lease a public airport to a private operator to conduct operations. The law may impose public pro- curement requirements in connection with obtaining such a lease and may authorize development activities for public purposes. In general, state laws require leased airports to be maintained as public airports, and business arrangements at these airports must be con- sistent with what the state would have undertaken.28 When the airport is open to the public, Arizona consid- ers the lessee to be an agent or instrumentality of gov- ernment and makes additional police powers available to the private operator.29 West Virginia state law also provides that airport development may be undertaken through a public-private partnership.30 Secondary Airport Powers. State laws may give to entities that do not own airports the authority to exer- cise specified powers in connection with an airport. Typically these entities consist of special purpose dis- tricts and authorities that have been formed mainly for other purposes, including development authorities, fi- nance authorities or funds, improvement districts or economic development entities for transportation or other purposes, transit or transportation districts or authorities, redevelopment authorities overseeing the closure of military bases, and utility districts. While they do not own airports, these entities may have au- thority to assist with an airport’s development, financ- ing, or other activities. B. State Empowerment Provisions Airport entities, as units of government, only have the authority to act that they receive from the State, and statutes providing that authority are drafted to address a variety of needs. These statutes empower specific airport activities and address common govern- mental issues. State empowerment provisions tend to contain similar language, which reflects common issues as well as an early uniform law that some states used 26 For example, see UTAH CODE ANN. 72-10-304 (2010 Gen. Sess.) (various entities noted). 27 See OKLA. STAT. ANN. tit. 3, § 65.15 (through 2010 2d Reg. Sess. ch. 479) (stating terms to be included in joint owner- ship agreement and requiring use of a joint board). 28 For example, see, e.g., NEV. REV. STAT. ANN. § 494.100 (through 2009 Reg. Sess. & 2010 Sp. Sess.). 29 See ARIZ. REV. STAT. ANN. § 28-8424 (through Jan. 11, 2011, 1st Reg. Sess.). 30 W. VA. CODE ANN. §§ 17-27-2 (through 2010 2d Ex. Sess.). as a model.31 The basic parameters of state empower- ment provisions are discussed below. Public Purpose. State empowerment provisions for airport entities typically contain an express provision stating that the operation of an airport is a public pur- pose. At the outset of aviation, local communities chal- lenged whether owning and operating an airport consti- tuted an activity that was conducted for a public purpose and thus an activity on which government could expend public resources. Those cases uniformly determined that airport activities had a public purpose. Airports are now firmly established as a lawful pursuit of government.32 States can also declare by statute that one or more specific airport functions have a public purpose. When enumerated by the legislature, those functions can include matters such as the planning, acquisition, establishment, improvement, equipping, and operation of airports; airport property and airport protection privileges; eliminating airport hazards; rights-of-way for highways and railroads providing airport access; airport noise mitigation efforts; and airport bonds.33 The law may also provide that specific airport entities have a public purpose or that a type of airport entity has a public purpose. Similarly, it may declare a public purpose for state programs, such as state financial assistance for airports or a state aeronautics act.34 State approaches vary but these express declarations establish the public nature of an airport and protect its ability to operate as a part of government. An established public purpose provides other benefits to airport entities as well. For example, public entities typically operate under a tax exempt status, and when otherwise authorized by state law, airport entities have the ability to support their operations from tax revenues (as discussed in Section 2.F). They also may benefit from immunity provisions that can shield government entities from liability (as discussed in Section 3). This declaration of public purpose also supports an entity’s ability to exercise rights of eminent domain to condemn private property when otherwise authorized by state law (as discussed in Section 4.C). This basic provision in most airport empowering acts thus serves a variety of purposes. 31 See also App. A: State Codes (noting uniform law influ- ences). 32 See McClintock v. Rosenburg, 127 Or. 698, 273 P. 331 (1929) (a public airport is for the benefit of the community, not any particular individuals, and it is therefore a public enter- prise); Fine Airport Parking, Inc. v. The City of Tulsa, 2003 OK 27, 71 P.3d 5 (2003) (what constitutes a public purpose is gen- erally a legislative matter). 33 For example, see HAW. REV. STAT. § 261-11 (through 2010 Reg. & Sp. Sess.) (listed functions have public purpose); MD. CODE ANN., TRANSP. § 5-102 (through 2010 Reg. Sess.) (airport functions have public purpose). 34 For example, see MINN. STAT. ANN. §§ 360.011 and 473.655 (through 2010 2d Sp. Sess.) (aeronautics act has public purpose).

7 Extent of Jurisdiction. Airport properties and opera- tions may cross a variety of local boundary lines, and as such the jurisdiction of airport entities may raise con- flicts with neighboring municipalities. Empowerment acts generally address these concerns by discussing the scope of the airport entity’s jurisdiction. States may permit an airport entity to exercise control over its fa- cilities whether they are located within or outside of the airport entity’s own physical boundaries, the bounda- ries of adjoining municipalities, or state boundaries. Some provide that a given airport entity is under the exclusive jurisdiction of the political subdivision con- trolling it and that no other political subdivision has authority over the airport, regardless of where the air- port is located.35 State statutes have also addressed concerns for overlapping jurisdiction by limiting the annexation powers of jurisdictions surrounding an air- port so that the airport cannot be made a part of a neighboring entity.36 States sometimes address overlapping jurisdiction by requiring joint action or imposing consent require- ments. For example, state laws may allow both an air- port entity and a neighboring local government to exer- cise authority over roadways near the airport. If an airport is located within another entity’s jurisdiction, some state laws require that the airport entity obtain the other jurisdiction’s consent for certain actions. States also may address the power of a neighboring jurisdiction to impose fees or taxes on activities at the airport; some expressly prevent those measures, while others expressly allow them.37 State laws also may address concerns for autonomy and oversight.38 For example, Massachusetts retains a degree of oversight authority for airport entities by re- quiring that rules and regulations be approved by the state aeronautics agency.39 Montana state law recog- nizes that impact and provides that an airport entity‘s actions and regulations must be consistent with federal requirements.40 35 For example, see DEL. CODE ANN. tit. 2, § 912 (through 2010, 77 Laws, chs. 1–476 and 2010 tec. corr.). 36 For example, see KAN. STAT. ANN. § 3-307d (through 2010 Reg. Sess.). 37 For examples, see NEB. REV. STAT. § 3-236 (through 2010 2d Reg. Sess.) (powers over roads and generally); VA. CODE ANN. § 5.1-31 (through 2010 Reg. Sess.) (requiring consent of neighboring jurisdiction and generally); WASH. REV. CODE ANN. § 14.08.330 (through 2011, chs. 1 & 2) (powers over roads, fees, and generally). 38 In a survey of airport entities, many viewed their man- agement functions as largely autonomous from other govern- ment entities. Among those reporting that another entity im- posed constraints, some reported strong control by another government entity but many referred to specific areas, such as the adoption of a budget, where the airport entity was obli- gated to obtain another entity’s approval. See App. B: Ques- tionnaire Responses. 39 See MASS. GEN. LAWS ANN. ch. 90, § 51J (through 2010 Ann. Sess., ch. 392). 40 See MONT. CODE ANN. § 67-10-301 (2009). Drafting Influences. When most states create airport empowerment statutes, they enumerate the various powers that an airport entity can exercise. This ap- proach derives from early municipal law principles un- der which the courts strictly construed a statutory grant of government power in favor of the state. That principle of construction, known as “Dillon’s Rule,” originated in an 1868 case in which Justice John Dillon determined that "[M]unicipal corporations owe their origin to, and derive their powers and rights wholly from, the legislature. It breathes into them the breath of life, without which they cannot exist. As it creates, so may it destroy. If it may destroy, it may abridge and control.”41 Justice Dillon went on to write one of the earliest treatises on municipal law,42 which provided that while state powers are plenary (except as limited by state or federal constitutions), municipalities have only the powers that the state expressly grants to them. Dillon’s Rule required that municipal powers be spe- cifically enumerated in state law during the early 20th century, when many local airport empowerment provisions were originally drafted. Most states later modified that rule in favor of broadly construing grants of state power to municipalities (subject to state im- posed restrictions on those powers).43 Regardless of when they were drafted, however, state empowerment provisions for airport entities tend to reflect this style of specifically enumerating authorized activities. State empowerment provisions for airport entities also tend to reflect the Uniform Airports Act produced by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uni- form State Laws (“National Conference”).44 The Na- tional Conference produced a Uniform Airports Act in 1935 that was formally adopted in two states, and its basic provisions are reflected in many state laws.45 In particular, states incorporate the Uniform Act’s broad general provision that “[m]unicipalities, counties, and other political subdivisions” [may] “separately or 41 Clinton v. Cedar Rapids and the Mo. River R.R., 24 Iowa 455, 475, Iowa Sup. LEXIS 45,*12, 30 (June 1868). 42 JOHN F. DILLON, MUNICIPAL CORPORATIONS (1872). 43 See State v. Hutchinson, 624 P.2d 1116 (Utah 1980) (re- jecting Dillon’s Rule); Frayda S. Bluestein, Article; Do North Carolina Local Governments Need Home Rule?, N.C. L. REV. (2006) (discussing the application of Dillon’s Rule in North Carolina). 44 The National Conference promulgated the Aeronautical Regulatory Act in 1935 (App. C, reprinted with permission of the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws), the Aeronautics Act in 1922 (App. E, reprinted with permission of the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws), the Air Licensing Act in 1930 (App. F, reprinted with permission of the National Conference of Com- missioners on Uniform State Laws), and the Aircraft Financial Responsibility Act in 1954 (App. G, reprinted with permission of the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws). Its aviation acts were withdrawn, however, as the fed- eral government began regulating more extensively. 45 See App. A: State Codes (noting uniform law influences by state).

8 jointly…acquire, establish, construct, expand, own, lease, control, equip, improve, maintain, operate, regu- late and police airports and landing fields for the use of aircraft, either within or without the geographical lim- its of such municipalities, counties and other political subdivisions….”46 The Uniform Airports Act addresses a variety of other subjects as well that have influenced current state laws. It provides that airport lands are “acquired, owned, leased, controlled or occupied for public, gov- ernmental and municipal purposes.”47 Airport property can be acquired by “grant, purchase, lease, or other means” if the parties can agree, and “otherwise by con- demnation.”48 The price to acquire property can be paid by “appropriation…[or] proceeds from the sale of bonds.”49 It allows a municipality to vest authority for airport operations and development in an “officer, board or body,” but expenses remain the municipality’s re- sponsibility.50 The Uniform Airports Act also empowers airport en- tities to adopt regulations and fix penalties for viola- tions; establish fees and charges and liens to enforce payment; and lease airports or portions of airports for limited periods of time, provided the public is not de- prived of its rightful, equal, and uniform use thereof.51 It provides that local government may appropriate money for airports and cause that money to be raised by taxation, and allows airport entities to operate using money derived from airport operations.52 It empowers airport operators to purchase, lease, or condemn air rights to ensure safe approaches, as well as rights or easements (for a term of years or perpetually) to place suitable navigational marking and lighting in sur- rounding areas.53 It also provides that when a munici- pality owns an airport outside its geographical limits, it can adopt and enforce police regulations for the air- port.54 Consistent with its purpose, the Uniform Airports Act states that its provisions are to be interpreted in accordance with other applicable laws and consistent with other states adopting its provisions.55 Its influence has promoted common provisions of law regardless of whether a state has formally adopted the Uniform Air- ports Act.56 These historic approaches under Dillon’s 46 Uniform Airports Act of 1935 § 1 (withdrawn 1943). Re- printed with permission of the National Conference of Com- missioners on Uniform State Laws in this digest at App. D. 47 Id. § 2. 48 Id. § 3. 49 Id. § 4. 50 Id. § 5(a). 51 See id. § 5(b) and (c). 52 See id. § 6. 53 See id. §§ 7–8. 54 See id. § 6. 55 See id. §§ 10–12. 56 See App. A: State Codes (noting uniform law influences by state). Rule and the Uniform Airports Act continue to influ- ence the detailed approach of many states when em- powering airport operations. Specific State Provisions. State empowerment provi- sions tend to implement a variety of common powers in addition to those mentioned in the Uniform Airports Act. Powers typically include the authority to establish fees; impose liens to secure payment; adopt reasonable rules, regulations, and airport minimum standards (re- gardless of where the airport is located); enter con- tracts; borrow money; issue bonds; pledge revenues to pay for bonds; hire employees and consultants; deter- mine policy; participate in pension plans; prepare budg- ets; expend funds; lease or otherwise dispose of real property; grant concessions in airport facilities for commercial purposes or to supply goods and services; grant concessions to make available services that the municipality or its agent will furnish; appoint airport guards or police; fix penalties for violations of legal re- quirements; receive grants and gifts; obtain loans; make surveys and plans; condemn or otherwise acquire real or personal property; equip airports; cooperate with the federal government; develop projects; purchase materi- als; use municipal services; and exercise other inciden- tal powers.57 Some of these powers are discussed in more detail elsewhere in this digest. In addition to these common powers, some powers of an airport entity also derive from the structure under which it is organized. For example, airport authorities (or corporations) typically have perpetual succession and the power to sue and be sued.58 When airports are operated by municipalities and special districts (and sometimes by other entities), the airport entity often has authority to levy and collect taxes for the airport. Individual states address a variety of other topics as well in state empowerment provisions. Some elaborate on the financial powers that an airport entity may exer- cise in addition to a general authorization to collect rates and charges or issue bonds. For example, many states impose, or may empower airport entities to im- pose and collect, a tax on aviation fuel.59 In Alabama and Washington, statutes specifically authorize airport entities to impose customer facility charges in connec- tion with rental cars or passenger facility charges pur- suant to the federal program.60 Kentucky state law specifies measures for addressing financial risks at 57 See App. A: State Codes (noting citations for state em- powerment provisions). For an example of how these provisions may be drafted, see GA. CODE ANN. § 6-4-7 (through 2010 Reg. Sess.). 58 For example, see ARK. CODE ANN. § 14-362-104 (through 2010 Fis. Sess., incl. ARK. CODE REV. COMM. to Sept. 30, 2010). 59 For example, see ARK. CODE ANN. § 14-362-109 (through 2010 Fis. Sess., incl. ARK. CODE REV. COMM. to Sept. 30, 2010). 60 For example, see ALA. CODE § 4-2A-6 (through 2010 1st Sp. Sess.) (passenger facility charges); WASH. REV. CODE ANN. § 14.08.120 (2011 Leg., May 31, 2011) (customer facility charge).

Next: II. ESTABLISHING STATE POLICIES FOR AIRPORTS »
Compilation of State Airport Authorizing Legislation Get This Book
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TRB’s Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) Legal Research Digest 15: Compilation of State Airport Authorizing Legislation presents information pertaining to each state’s airport-specific legislation, including laws establishing, developing, operating, expanding, and funding airports.

The compilation focuses on legislation expressly applicable to public airports rather than legislation applicable to local governments generally. It compares and contrasts zoning and land use; purchasing authority; commercial operations; ground transportation, funding, and taxing authority; law enforcement; and sovereign immunity.

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