Airfield Pavement: Keeping Nation's Runways in Good Condition Could Require Substantially Higher Spending
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Airfield Pavement: Keeping Nation's Runways in Good Condition Could Require Substantially Higher Spending

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    • Alternative Title:
      Report to the Chairman, Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, United States Senate: Airfield Pavement: Keeping Nation's Runways in Good Condition Could Require Substantially Higher Spending
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    • Abstract:
      Since 1982, the Airport Improvement Program (AIP) has provided about $2.2 billion in federal grants for rehabilitating and maintaining airport runways. Administered by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), this program is a major source of runway rehabilitation funding for the 3,300-plus airports that constitute FAA’s national airport system—the primary network of airports throughout the country. At the request of the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, GAO addressed the following issues concerning this program: (1) the current condition of the nation’s airport runways, (2) the likely cost of rehabilitation and preventive maintenance for these runways over the next 10 years, (3) FAA’s basis for setting priorities among requests for AIP grants for runway rehabilitation and maintenance, and (4) the results of the demonstration project authorized by the Congress in 1996 to address concerns that a lack of funding was hampering runway maintenance at small airports. GAO developed a comprehensive picture of runway conditions by assembling a detailed database covering about 35 percent of the airports in the national system and determined, using statistical methods, that conditions at the remaining 65 percent of the airports were comparable. The airports in the database represent a cross section of all sizes of airports. Although this approach allows systemwide estimates about current runway conditions, the lack of detailed information on pavement conditions at 65 percent of the airports prohibited any generalization about their future conditions or the cost to rehabilitate or maintain their runways.
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