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Permissible Uses of Airport Property and Revenue (2020)

Chapter: ACRP LRD 40 Permissible Uses of Airport Property and Revenue

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Suggested Citation:"ACRP LRD 40 Permissible Uses of Airport Property and Revenue." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Permissible Uses of Airport Property and Revenue. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26011.
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DECEMBER 2020 AIRPORT COOPERATIVE RESEARCH PROGRAM LRD Background There are over 4,000 airports in the country and most of these airports are owned by governments. A 2003 sur- vey conducted by Airports Council International–North America concluded that city ownership accounts for 38 percent, followed by regional airports at 25 percent, single county at 17 percent, and multi-jurisdictional at 9 percent. Primary legal services to these airports are, in most cases, provided by municipal, county, and state attorneys. Research reports and summaries produced by the Airport Continuing Legal Studies Project and published as ACRP Legal Research Digests are developed to assist these attorneys seeking to deal with the myriad of legal problems encountered during airport development and operations. Such substantive areas as eminent domain, environmental concerns, leasing, contracting, security, insurance, civil rights, and tort liability present cutting- edge legal issues where research is useful and indeed needed. Airport legal research, when conducted through the TRB’s legal studies process, either collects primary data that usually are not available elsewhere or performs analysis of existing literature. Foreword Understanding the permissible use of airport revenue is one of the most common legal issues faced by airport management. While there are some clear lines, there are several categories (e.g., utility fees) of potential expendi- tures of airport revenue that are not as clearly defined. In addition to the legal uncertainty, airport operators often face political pressure to use airport revenue for purposes that are tangentially related or unrelated to the airport. This legal digest explores the permissible uses of airport revenue and airport property and relies on the background of economic and legal information pre- sented in ACRP Legal Research Digest 2: Theory and Law of Airport Revenue Diversion, with updates. It focuses on the application of federal law and policy to specific categories of expenditures and uses and includes dis- cussion of statutory law, policy, case law, and informal and formal guidance from the FAA. This publication is a practical guide for attorneys and non-attorneys, and differentiates between settled areas of the law and unsettled/emerging areas. Permissible Uses of Airport Property and Revenue This digest was prepared under ACRP Project 11-01, “Legal Aspects of Airport Programs,” for which the Transportation Research Board (TRB) is the agency coordinating the research. Under Topic 11-01, this digest was prepared by Peter J. Kirsch and Christian L. Alexander, Kaplan Kirsch & Rockwell LLP, Denver, CO. The opinions and conclusions expressed or implied in this digest are those of the researchers who performed the research and are not necessarily those of the Transportation Research Board; the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; or the program sponsors. The responsible program officer is Theresia Schatz.

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Understanding the permissible use of airport revenue is one of the most common legal issues faced by airport management. While there are some clear lines, there are several categories (such as utility fees) of potential expenditures of airport revenue that are not as clearly defined.

The TRB Airport Cooperative Research Program'sACRP Legal Research Digest 40: Permissible Uses of Airport Property and Revenue updates the background of economic and legal information presented in ACRP Legal Research Digest 2: Theory and Law of Airport Revenue Diversion. It focuses on the application of federal law and policy to specific categories of expenditures and uses and includes discussion of statutory law, policy, case law, and informal and formal guidance from the Federal Aviation Administration.

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