Frequently Asked Questions
The Airport Master Plan is approximately 90% funded by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) with the remaining 10% coming from airport funds.
Users of airports typically indirectly pay for the costs of developing the United States’ National Airspace System (NAS) and a portion of public use airports. Like the national highway system, much of airport infrastructure is paid for with revenues from several aviation-user taxes on items such as airline fares, air freight, and aviation fuel, which are deposited in the federal aviation trust fund for the purpose of improving the nation’s aviation infrastructure.
Certain types of planning and development projects at airports that are part of the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS) receive federal funding from FAA AIP grants. As a small-hub airport that is part of the NPIAS, the federal share of airfield eligible project costs at PSP is approximately 90%. The eligible share of terminal project costs varies dependent primarily on the amount of public vs. private, leasable space included in the project. Other projects such as parking structure that have revenue generating potential typically have lower eligibility for federal funding.
The FAA has two official roles during the Airport Master Plan study:
- Review and approve the aviation forecasts (the projected growth of aviation activity); and
- Formally approve the ALP (Airport Layout Plan) for airspace and to confirm it meets current design standards.
Additionally, the FAA serves in a supportive advisory role during the preparation of the Draft Airport Master Plan. The FAA may provide comments on Airport Master Plan content, findings, and recommendations, and may offer technical assistance and support. Since the Airport Master Plan is considered a local policy/guidance document, the FAA does not formally approve the final Airport Master Plan.
An ALP serves as the “blueprint” for an airport and shows:
- Boundaries and proposed additions to all areas owned or controlled by the sponsor for airport purposes;
- The location and nature of existing and proposed airport facilities and structures; and
- The location on the airport of existing and proposed non-aviation areas and improvements.
The broader term “Airport Layout Plan Drawing Set” is used to describe several pages of drawings that serve as a graphical representation of a wide range of information and details related to airport facilities, proposed development, airspace, land use concerns, and property holdings. ALP drawing sets are prepared in accordance with strict Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) guidelines and require FAA approval.
While the Airport Master Plan does not constitute a noise study, the potential for changes in the noise environment as a result of various development alternatives will be considered. Based on updated forecasts of aviation activity, noise contours will be developed and included in the subsequent CEQA analysis that follow the Draft Master Plan.
Most airports with curfews or nighttime restrictions have had those restrictions grandfathered in prior to the 1990 Airport Noise and Capacity Act (ANCA). ANCA was passed by Congress in order to shift responsibility for noise abatement away from local governments and airport sponsors, and to grant the FAA the preemptive authority over the setting of noise levels and the imposition of noise and capacity restrictions at airports.
The final master plan will include a list of potential airport improvements based on identified needs and a draft projected schedule for making them, but actual design and construction of improvements will be determined on an as needed basis in the future.
Yes, additional studies may be necessary before a project depicted on the Master Plan is implemented. FAA’s approval of the ALP signifies only that there are no safety concerns related to the proposed Airport Master Plan and that recommendations generally conform with FAA standards. At a minimum, these usually include National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) documentation, and any other studies needed to satisfy required permit applications.
There are many dimensional criteria standards that apply to airports, however the primary standards to consider are the Runway Safety Area (RSA), Runway Object Free Area (ROFA) and Runway Protection Zone (RPZ). These standards are further described and graphically illustrated in the first three chapters of the Master Plan document.
- Runway Safety Area (RSA) – The RSA is the primary safety area surrounding the runway. It enhances the safety of aircraft which undershoot, overrun, or veer off the runway, and it provides greater accessibility for firefighting and rescue equipment during such incidents. The RSA standard is the least flexible.
- Runway Object Free Area (ROFA) – The ROFA standard requires clearing the ROFA of above-ground objects protruding above the nearest point of the RSA non-essential for air navigation or aircraft ground maneuvering purposes.
- Runway Protection Zone (RPZ) – The RPZ’s function is to enhance the protection of people and property on the ground.