By Keith Laing
"Airports are willing to do their own part, but need Congressional help to do so," he wrote. "Therefore, I am requesting that your plan gets the federal government to get out of the way and give airports and their local communities the tools to raise the money they need for local projects.
"To be clear, we are not asking your support for an increase in the PFC, we are asking your support in getting the federal government out of setting its level," he continued.
As part of the deal reached earlier this month to raise the federal debt ceiling, a committee of lawmakers appointed by Senate and House leaders will make recommendations this winter on reduce the federal deficit.
The committee members are Democratic Sens. Max Baucus (Mont.), John Kerry (Mass.) and Patty Murray (Wash.); Senate Republicans Jon Kyl (Ariz.), Rob Portman (Ohio) and Pat Toomey (Pa.); Republicans Reps. Fred Upton (Mich.), Dave Camp (Mich.) and Jeb Hensarling (Texas); and Democratic Reps. Jim Clyburn (S.C.), Chris Van Hollen (Md.) and Xavier Becerra (Calif.).
The committee has been tasked with presenting proposals to reduce the deficit by Thanksgiving. Congress would then have until Christmas to vote on them.
Principato argued in his letter that lifting the restrictions on airport construction financing could help them reach consensus.
"If we do this we can ultimately reduce the amount of money Washington spends on aviation infrastructure and end up with a better system," he said. "If Congress truly expects airports to continue to meet the numerous federally mandated safety, security and infrastructure projects while reducing the deficit, your plan needs to get the government out of the business of strictly limiting the ability of local communities to raise the funds needed to address their airport’s needs."