Funding Sources for Compatible Land Use Planning

Source: Chapter 4 of "Land Use Compatibility and Airports," FAA Southern Region, Airports Division Office, Compatible Land Use Planning Task Force. Downloaded June 15, 2003 from


There are two primary sources of federal funding for compatible land use planning projects: the Airport Improvement Program and the Passenger Facility Charge Program, both of which are described below.

Airport Improvement Program (AIP)

This program's primary objective is to help develop public-use airports to meet the current projected growth of civil aviation. Federal aid in the form of grants is funded with the user-supported aviation Trust Fund. The Trust Fund's revenue is generated by several aviation user taxes on items such as airline tickets, airfreight, and aviation fuel.

Eligibility to receive funds under the AIP is contingent upon the type of sponsor and the type of activity for which funds are sought. The different types of sponsor, who are eligible for funds, include:

Planning Agencies

A planning agency means any agency designated by the FAA Administrator which is authorized by the laws of the state or states or political subdivisions concerned to engage in areawide planning for the areas in which the grant assistance is to be used. There are, therefore, two levels of planning agencies:

State Level: Typical state agencies that are authorized by state law to engage in state airport system planning usually include planning offices, aeronautics commissions, and departments of transportation.

Regional/Metropolitan Level: Typical planning agencies which are authorized by state or local laws to engage in regional or metropolitan area airport system planning include Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPOs), Councils of Governments (COGs), Regional Planning Commissions (RPCs) and other similarly organized agencies.

Public Agencies Owning Airports

A public agency is defined as a state, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, the Government of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, and Guam or any agency of them; a municipality or other political subdivisions or a tax-supported organization; or an Indian tribe or pueblo. Public agencies owning airports are eligible to receive grants for airport master planning, noise compatibility planning, and noise program implementation projects and airport development projects.

Public Agencies Not Owning Airports

Public agencies not owning airports are eligible for master planning (including site selection) grants for new airports, acquisition of existing airports, and noise program implementation projects if such projects are included in the noise compatibility program prepared by the local airport sponsor and not disapproved by the FAA.

Private Airport Owners/Operators

A private owner may be an individual, partnership, or corporation that owns or operates a reliever airport or an airport that receives scheduled passenger service of aircraft that annually enplane 2,500 or more passengers. A privately-owned/operated airport is eligible for funding for airport development projects, airport master planning, and noise compatibility planning and noise program implementation projects.

Airport owners can submit preapplications for federal aid and subsequently be issued grants for planning, development, noise planning, paving, lighting, land acquisition, noise compatibility projects such as sound insulation of homes and acquisition of noise-impacted properties, and the purchase of certain safety-related equipment, after meeting the following requirements:

1. The project sponsorship requirements.

2. The project is reasonably consistent with the plans of planning agencies for the development of the area in which the airport is located.

3. Sufficient funds are available for that portion of the project not paid for by the federal government.

4. The project will be completed without undue delay.

5. The airport location is included in the current version of the National Plan of Integrated Airport System (NPIAS). (See Section V, page V-1, for a discussion of the NPIAS.)

6. The project involves more than $25,000 in AIP funds unless, in the judgment of the FAA it would be in the best interest of the federal government to award a grant of a lesser amount.

Upon acceptance of federal assistance, an airport owner becomes obligated to operate and maintain the airport to certain standards. Acceptance of federal funds requires airport owners to comply with assurances and obligations contained in the grant agreements. One of the assurances with which an airport owner must comply involves compatible land use. This assurance requires the airport owner to take appropriate action, including the adoption of zoning laws to the extent reasonable, to restrict the use of land adjacent to or in the immediate vicinity of the airport to activities and purposes compatible with normal airport operations, including the landing and take-off of aircraft.

AIP grants have been issued directly to non-airport sponsors, such as cities and counties, for noise mitigation projects that involved sound insulation. The cities of El Segundo and Inglewood, California, which are located near the Los Angeles International Airport received federal funding to implement noise-mitigation projects which were specifically identified and approved in Part 150 Noise Compatibility Studies. The cities of San Bruno, Pacifica, and Daly and San Mateo County, California, located near the San Francisco International Airport have also received federal funds to implement sound-insulation projects.

In addition to receiving federal funds for sound insulation projects, cities such as Inglewood and Ontario, California, have used federal funds to acquire properties that were not compatible with the airport to convert them into more compatible land uses.

Passenger Facility Charges (PFCs)

The Aviation Safety and Capacity Expansion Act of 1990 grants a commercial service airport the authority to impose a passenger facility charge (PFC) to assist in financing airport capital development upon approval of the Secretary of Transportation. Approval for an airport to impose a PFC does not require the airport sponsor to comply with those assurances and obligations contained in AIP grant agreements.

The purposes of this financing mechanism are to:

Preserve or enhance the capacity, safety, or security of the national transportation system.

Reduce noise impacts resulting from an airport that is part of the system.

Furnish opportunities for enhanced competition between or among air carriers. PFCs may be used for airport noise compatibility measures such as sound insulation that are eligible for federal financial assistance, even if the measures have not been approved as part of a formal Part 150 Noise Compatibility Program.


There are other funding sources available for compatible land use planning that local municipalities and airports may want to consider investigating. Many airport proprietors and state aviation agencies are capable of financing various compatible land use projects.