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Facility development to support GA needs through 2035 should be an orderly process in which prioritization tools are applied. One of the most important of these is a new two-part metric – Part A: Current Airport Community Value (ACV) and Part B: Future ACV. Use of this metric is highly recommended in the System Plan to help an airport sponsor compare the facility’s value to other community assets, as well as its importance to the regional and state aviation systems.

Historically, airport economic impact studies rely on a survey of jobs, direct and indirect spending, and tax revenues to ascertain the direct labor and expenditure of airport resources. However, it is equally important to understand if a GA airport generates as much economic benefit as a school, public library, or road project—all of which are competing for local funding.

Traditional economic impact methodology cannot be incorporated into the FAA’s current cost-benefit analysis process. ACV includes an estimation of economic impact (total output) combined with asset value estimates of an airport. These baseline values are then subjected to economic sustainability assessment factors that include:

  1. The Regional Airport Resource Factor which assesses what types of aircraft fly in and out of an aviation facility as well as the population served.
  2. The Airport Protection Factor which assesses the actions a community takes to increase or protect the value of its aviation related investment(s). These include land-use compatibility, height hazard zoning, runway safety areas, and runway protection zones.
  3. The Location/Access Factor which measures convenience by relative location to economic activity centers and surface access to interstate highways, regional arterials, local arterials and passenger/freight facilities.
  4. The Business Use Index Factor which considers whether or not an airport accommodates business aircraft that directly contribute to jobs and commerce.
  5. The Expandability Factor which provides an assessment of whether an airport can expand on and off airport property.
  6. The Community Commitment Factor which helps to measure the support an airport receives from its sponsoring community. Communities that have developed current airport master plans and have capital improvement programs on file with funding agencies are considered proactive.

During the evaluation process, two estimates are used to determine the asset value of the property and facility. Replacement value is calculated by multiplying unit construction costs by the existing quantities of facilities. Estimates of an existing/depreciated facility value employ “useful” life estimates of system airport facilities, thereby reducing the asset valuation for all but the newest of facilities.

Results of ACV studies provide ways to understand more completely the impact and benefit of capital improvements in the community in which an airport is located. Moreover, local leadership can be more confident in how capital investment dollars are directed in order to gain the highest rate of return.

On-going system planning efforts should look to further develop Part B: Future ACV, which aims to assist federal, state, and local aviation planning efforts in identifying the highest potential return on investment related to airport infrastructure.

For more information about the ACV metric, please click here.

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