The Inspector General of US Department of Transportation (DOT) questioned some of the projects selected by FAA as part of the $1.1 billion of airport improvement grants in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) signed into law in February. In an ARRA Advisory, dated August 6, 2009, the IG question the FAA’s decisions on funding certain projects as having lower scores that what would other wise qualify for funding. (The FAA scored projects on a 100-point scale. A score of 62 qualified for money. The projects cited by the IG scored between 40 and 50 points.)
Two of the airport grants the inspector general cited were in Alaska. The first being a $14.7 million grant to an airport in Ouzinkie, a village of about 170 people. The second was for a grant of $13.9 million for an airport in Akiachak, a village of about 660 people.
The inspector general also questioned awards to four airports in Delaware, Missouri, Ohio and Washington that did not provide commercial passenger service and had limited flight operations. Recommendations included that the aviation administration should either show that the projects had economic merit or consider withdrawing the grants.
This is probably not the final word on these ARRA funding issues.