Newark, John F. Kennedy and LaGuardia airports rank in the bottom 20 of 369 U.S. airports receiving the least federal grant funding, according to a new study.
JFK, which handled more than 24 million departing passengers in the last fiscal year, ranked the 18th least in federal grants and received 56 cents per passenger in federal money for fiscal year 2013, according to the Global Gateway Alliance survey. Newark, which ranked fourthleast, received 24 cents per passenger, while serving as the departure point for more than 17 million passengers. LaGuardia, which ranked eighth least, received 29 cents despite handling more than 12.8 million passengers.
Utah's Vernal Regional Airport, which handled only 7,370 enplanements, received $998.01 per passenger, according to the report.
The Alliance, which is devoted to improving local metropolitan airports, wants an alteration of the funding formula of the Airport Improvement Program (AIP), which stipulates that 35% of all AIP grants (about $1.35 billion) go to airports with fewer than 10,000 enplaning passengers.
AIP grants are mainly used for infrastructure upgrades, such as those involving signage, lavatories and lighting, but can also finance safety improvements.
"When the federal government gives almost $1.4 billion to airports that serve less than one percent of the nation's passengers, at the expense of the busiest airport system in the country, there is something seriously wrong," said Joe Sitt, chairman and founder of the Alliance.
The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey did not respond to a request for comment.