A House committee has cleared a four-year aviation reauthorization bill that would provide a boost for airport construction grants and a hike in passenger facility charges, as an airport group says capital needs continue to climb. But with a temporary Federal Aviation Administration authorization set to lapse March 31, another extension is likely.

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on March 5 approved a bill that would authorize $70 billion for FAA over the 2009-2012 period. It includes $16.2 billion for FAA's Airport Improvement Program, which provides grants to fund runways, taxiways and other infrastructure. Under the bill, AIP would receive $3.9 billion in 2009, with $100-million annual increases after that, topping out at $4.2 billion in 2012. AIP's 2008 appropriation was $3.5 billion.

The measure also would increase the maximum passenger facility charge that airports could levy, to $7 per flight segment, from $4.50 now.

As Congress debates the FAA legislation, the Airports Council International-North America on March 6 released a survey that pegs airports' capital needs at $94.3 billion over the next five years, up 8% from the level in the group's 2007 survey.

The ACI-NA survey shows that terminal projects account for the largest share of the total dollars, with 46.6%, followed by "airside" work, such as runways, at 32% of the total. Landside projects, such as access roads or parking facilities, accounted for 21.3% of the total estimated needs.