Federal Airport Act of 1946 <





The Federal Airport Act of 1946  



The Federal Airport Act of 1946 brought about a federal responsibility and participation in the further construction of airports through the newly established Federal Aid Airport Program. The Federal Aid Airport Program provided annual funding of 75 million dollars for airport construction and improvements.

In 1944, CAA submitted a National Airport Plan that helped spark Congressional interest in meeting postwar airport needs. After debating the issue, Congress passed the Federal Airport Act, signed on May 13, 1946, by President Harry S Truman.

The Act provided for $500 million in grants for airport projects paid over seven years. The maximum federal grant for an eligible project would provide half of the project's costs.


Local airport sponsors would issue bonds to finance the rest of the cost. All projects had to meet CAA standards for location, layout, grading, drainage, paving, and lighting. Further, all tax money collected by local governments for aviation facilities or fuel had to go for airport operations and maintenance.  

In 1950, the Federal Airport Act was extended to 1958. Only runways and taxiways were eligible for federal money. Local sponsors were responsible for terminal buildings and equipment. On August 3, 1955, President Dwight Eisenhower signed Public Law 84-211, which included a new four-year program that committed $63 million of federal money each year. At the end of this period, another bill continued the money for two more years. Additional amounts were appropriated annually until 1970 when the Federal Airport Act was repealed, and the Airport and Airway Development Act of 1970, signed by President Richard Nixon on May 21, 1970, became law. 

Title I of the Act provided for, among other things, $250 million annually for the “acquisition, establishment, and improvement of air navigational facilities” and security equipment for the next ten years. Title II created what was popularly called the “aviation trust fund,” financed by an eight percent tax on domestic passenger fares, a three-dollar surcharge on passenger tickets originating in the United States, a tax of seven cents per gallon on gasoline and jet fuel, a five percent tax on airfreight waybills, and an annual registration fee and charge per pound for aircraft.


The Need For Federal Aviation Regulation

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