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Airport Customer Facility Charges: Analysis of Laws, Regulations, and Case Law (2023)

Chapter: ACRP LRD 45: Airport Customer Facility Charges: Analysis of Laws, Regulations, and Case Law

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Suggested Citation:"ACRP LRD 45: Airport Customer Facility Charges: Analysis of Laws, Regulations, and Case Law." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Airport Customer Facility Charges: Analysis of Laws, Regulations, and Case Law. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27049.
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Background ere are over 4,000 airports in the country and most of these airports are owned by governments. A 2003 sur- vey conducted by Airports Council International–North America concluded that city ownership accounts for 38 percent, followed by regional airports at 25 percent, single county at 17 percent, and multi-jurisdictional at 9 percent. Primary legal services to these airports are, in most cases, provided by municipal, county, and state attorneys. Research reports and summaries produced by the Airport Continuing Legal Studies Project and published as ACRP Legal Research Digests are developed to assist these attorneys seeking to deal with the myriad of legal problems encountered during airport development and operations. Such substantive areas as eminent domain, environmental concerns, leasing, contracting, security, insurance, civil rights, and tort liability present cutting- edge legal issues where research is useful and indeed needed. Airport legal research, when conducted through the TRB’s legal studies process, either collects primary data that usually are not available elsewhere or performs analysis of existing literature. Foreword Many airport proprietors impose a customer facility charge (CFC) upon the customers of rental car com- panies located at the airport. Typically, the revenue col- lected from these charges is used by the airport proprietor to pay for the capital and operating costs of rental car facilities at the airport, although CFCs may be used for a range of permissible purposes. In some jurisdictions, for example, CFCs may be applied to certain costs of other facilities, such as roadways or utilities, which support a consolidated rental car facility. Unlike many other airport-related rates and charges, CFCs are subject to relatively little federal regulatory oversight. A small minority of states regulate CFCs through provisions of state law; however, most CFCs are imposed and implemented through a combination of local municipal acts and/or contractual arrangements. Recently, challenges to the imposition and use of CFCs and other airport fees and charges have been mounted in several states by interested parties. ere is only a small universe of emerging caselaw surrounding CFCs, specically, cases regarding similar charges on ground transportation providers (e.g., access or privilege fees for the use of the airport) that can be instructive for jurisdic- tions imposing CFCs. is digest examines the legal issues arising under state and federal law from the imposition and use of CFCs. Applicable state and federal laws and regulations are summarized, and the digest includes an inventory of state-level authorizing legislation in those jurisdictions that have adopted state-level regulation of CFCs. Judicial decisions regarding the collection and use of CFCs and related issues are also analyzed. Airport Customer Facility Charges: Analysis of Laws, Regulations, and Case Law This digest was prepared under ACRP Project 11-01, “Legal Aspects of Airport Programs,” for which the Transportation Research Board (TRB) is the agency coordinating the research. Under Topic 11-03, this digest was prepared by Sarah E. Wilbanks and Steven L. Osit, Kaplan Kirsch and Rockwell LLP, Denver, CO. The opinions and conclusions expressed or implied in this digest are those of the researchers who performed the research and are not necessarily those of the Transportation Research Board; the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; or the program sponsors. The senior program officer is Jordan Christensen. AIRPORT COOPERATIVE RESEARCH PROGRAM Sponsored by the Federal Aviat ion Administrat ion ACRP LRD45 LEGAL RESEARCH DIGEST MAY 2023

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Customer facility charges (CFCs) are imposed by airport proprietors on customers of rental car companies at airports to pay for capital and operating costs of rental car facilities. CFCs have relatively little federal regulatory oversight, and most are implemented through local municipal acts and/or contractual arrangements. Recently, challenges to the imposition and use of CFCs and other airport fees and charges have been mounted in several states.

ACRP Legal Research Digest 45: Airport Customer Facility Charges: Analysis of Laws, Regulations, and Case Law, from TRB's Airport Cooperative Research Program, examines legal issues arising under state and federal law from the imposition and use of CFCs. The digest includes an inventory of state-level authorizing legislation in jurisdictions that regulate CFCs. Judicial decisions regarding the collection and use of CFCs and related issues are also analyzed.

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