The National Academies

ACRP 11-01/Topic 03-02 [Final]

Compilation of State Aviation Authorizing Legislation
[ ACRP 11-01 (Legal Aspects of Airport Programs) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $35,000
Research Agency: Durham, Jones & Pinegar
Principal Investigator: Jodi Howick
Effective Date: 8/1/2009
Completion Date: 8/1/2011
Comments: Results published in ACRP Legal Research Digest 15.

Each state has enacted legislation creating and empowering governmental entities such as state agencies, municipalities, airport authorities, joint power organizations, etc. to plan, design, construct, operate, and protect public airports.   As a result, there is a national patchwork of legislation pursuant to which these airports operate.  There is also considerable diversity from state to state in the breadth and specificity of legislation empowering airport owners and operators.  It would be useful for policy-makers, airport operators, and other practitioners to have available a convenient and synthesized resource of all states’ airport-specific legislation.


The objective of this research project is to compile, review and summarize in digest form, each state’s airport-specific legislation, including, but not limited to, laws establishing, developing, operating, expanding, and funding airports.  The compilation should be limited to legislation expressly applicable to public airports rather than legislation applicable to local governments generally.


            The report should also compare and contrast the legislation concerning specific categories of statutory powers and limitations, such as:

Zoning and land use;

Purchasing authority;

Commercial operations and permitted uses;

Ground transportation access;

Public access and use;

Funding & taxing authority;

Land acquisition and divestment (sale, lease or exchange); and

Law enforcement

Right to sue and be sued

Grant of immunities, including sovereign , antitrust, and tort immunities


The compilation should be sufficient to provide airport operators with a useful guide to the various state enacted approaches to specific subjects.


The report resulting from this research should be suitable for publication as an ACRP

Legal Research Digest properly formatted with supporting citations.  To the extent there are cases interpreting cited statutes, they should either be cited or digested.  Electronic links should be provided where possible.


 Status:  This Topic has been published as LRD 15:  Compilation of State Airport Authorizing Legislation

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