Many local and regional governments charge stormwater utility fees to maintain and operate stormwater infrastructure and implement regulatory programs. Airports within their jurisdictions are often required to pay these fees. The airport community is seeing both a trend toward more governments charging these fees as well as significant increases in the amount of fees airports must pay, resulting in impacts to their budgets. Airports are looking for strategies to reduce these fees (including exemptions); yet airports face unique challenges (e.g., FAA requirements) that limit the ability to implement the most common practices that may reduce fees. Research is needed to help airports develop strategies to reduce fees and recover costs.
The objective of this research is to prepare a guidebook to help airport industry practitioners reduce their local stormwater utility fees. The guidebook should provide, at a minimum:
- Summary of the origin of stormwater utility fees and how they are applicable to airports;
- Common stormwater utility fee structures;
- Examples of exemptions and fee-reduction methods from airports and other transportation industries;
- Relationships (if any) among municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4), industrial activity, and construction discharge permit programs and stormwater utility fees;
- Guidance for developing strategies to reduce stormwater utility fees at airports;
- Opportunities for airports to recover costs related to managing stormwater emanating from offsite sources;
- Effective strategies for engaging in the stormwater utility fee development process with local governments;
- Guidance for engaging with local governments to understand the nexus between fees and services provided, including considerations of FAA grant assurances and regulations;
- Case study examples of airports that have attempted to reduce stormwater utility fees; at a minimum, the examples should vary by airport type and size, governance, geography, permit type(s), and complexity.