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Review of Apron Construction at Long Island-MacArthur Airport

On February 22, we issued correspondence to Representative Steve Israel regarding our review of matters raised by a constituent related to the safety and risks associated with defects in an apron outside the Southwest Airlines terminal at Long Island-MacArthur Airport in Islip, New York. At our request, FAA engineers assessed the apron. According to FAA, aircraft can still operate on the apron as long as the airport continues its efforts to seal the cracks and sweep the pavement to remove foreign objects and debris.

We also reviewed the propriety of the use of a contractor and subcontractor that have been the subject of Federal criminal charges to construct the apron. We found that the apron was built by Southwest Airlines without the use of Federal funds. While Southwest Airlines anticipates reimbursement for the construction through Passenger Facility Charges (PFC) levied by Islip Town to pay for airport improvements, town officials have said they will not release the funds until the outstanding issues are resolved. There currently is no provision in Federal regulations specifically excluding debarred companies from PFC-funded work. We have conferred with DOT and FAA officials who concluded that the FAA lacks the authority to prevent airports from paying PFC funds to debarred companies. We identified this issue in our February 14 testimony on FAA's FY '08 budget before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Aviation Subcommittee as an issue for possible legislative action.