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FIXING THE UNITED STATES SHARE OF PROJECT COSTS, UNDER THE FEDERAL AIRPORT ACT, INVOLVED IN INSTALLATION OF HIGH-INTENSITY LIGHTING ON CAA-DESIGNATED INSTRUMENT-LANDING RUNWAYS
JULY 8, 1949.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the State of
the Union and ordered to be printed
Mr. HARRIS, from the Committee on Interstate and Foreign
Commerce, submitted the following
(To accompany S. 1278)
The Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, to whom was referred the bill (S. 1278) to fix the United States share of project costs, under the Federal Airport Act, involved in installation of highintensity lighting on CAA-designated instrument-landing runways, having considered the same, report favorably thereon without amendment and recommend that the bill do pass.
The purpose of the bill is to authorize the United States to pay 75 percent instead of 50 percent of the cost of installing high-intensity airport runway lighting along instrument-landing runways on airport projects developed under the Federal Airport Act of 1946.
The average cost of purchasing and installing a high-intensity airport runway lighting system is approximately $60,000. Under existing law the Federal Government pays half of this cost, or slightly more in the so-called public-land States, under section 10 of the act. S. 1278 would increase the Federal contribution to “not to exceed 75 per centum.” Should the Administrator fix a percentage lower than 75 percent, it would necessarily be increased slightly by utilization of the area-population formula applicable to public-land States (act, sec. 10 (b)), but in no event would the Federal contribution for highintensity lighting exceed 75 percent of the cost thereof.
As of April 26, 1949, 144 instrument-landing systems were completed or in process of completion under the Federal airport program. Each of them requires the installation of a high-intensity runway lighting system for its proper operation. Total estimated cost of 144 installations..
$8, 640,000 Present 50-percent Federal contribution.
4, 320, 000 Proposed 75-percent Federal contribution.
6, 480, 000 Net increase in Federal contribution under S. 1278.-
2, 160, 000 Enactment of S. 1278 would result in no over-all increase in Federal expenditures under the Federal Airport Act, but would result in the construction of fewer airports under each annual appropriation due to the increased cost of each airport requiring high-intensity lighting.
In the committee's opinion, enactment of S. 1278 is amply justified because it would facilitate safer landings and take-offs in bad flying weather. The installation of instrument-landing systems to facilitate safer landings in foggy or bad weather is relatively ineffective unless supplemented by the installation of high-intensity runway lights. The cost of installation of low-intensity or normal runway lighting systems averages about $15,000 per installation, or one-fourth of the cost ($60,000) of a high-intensity lighting system. Many airport supervisors are financially unable or unwilling to make the additional investment required. S. 1278 would cause the Government to assume this additional financial burden by making an increased grant of 75 percent instead of 50 percent of the cost of installing a high-intensity runway lighting system as a part of an approved Federal airport project. The Federal grant payable on all other airport construction would remain at the present percentage of 50 percent. Essentially a military development, high-intensity airport runway lighting has assumed commercial importance only since the date of enactment of the Federal Airport Act of 1946; hence it was not separately considered by the draftsmen of the original act.
There is a possibility that municipalities which install high-intensity airport runway lighting systems may have to pay a royalty of $0.80 per runway foot for the use of a patented system of arranging runway lights. The lights themselves are not patented but the system of using them effectively is claimed to be patented. The basic patent is held by Bartow Beacon, Inc., of Bluebell, Pa., which has appointed the Wellsbach Corp. of Philadelphia, Pa., as its agent in the matter. The patent was issued in 1939 and runs until 1956, This patent system was little used before the war. but our military forces found it to be of great value. There is considerable possibility that the Bartow patent will become a subject of litigation in an effort to establish the contention that a substantially similar system was in use prior to the Bartow patent and hence that the latter patent is invalid. However, the Wellsbach Corp. has already submitted royalty claims at the rate of $0.80 per runway foot to the cities of Madison, Wis., and Buffalo, N. Y. 'It appears that the use of the Bartow system is highly desirable, if not essential. If the patent is sustained, the effect will bc to add from $3,000 to $5,000 to the cost of each airport installing this high-intensity lighting system. The CAA informs the committee that it is advising high-intensity runway-light manufacturers to make some satisfactory settlement or arrangement with Mr. Bartow; otherwise CAA will refuse to recommend the instailation of high-intensity lights. Your committee is satisfied, from his testimony on this point, that the Administrator of Civil Aeronautics will properly safeguard the interest of the Government while standing ready to require royalty payments to be made under the Bartow patent if and when this patent is sustained.
ABBENCE OF OPPOSITION
The bill is noncontroversial in character. Absolutely no opposition has been recorded from any source.
CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW In compliance with paragraph 2a of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by the bill, as introduced, are shown as follows (existing law proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new matter is printed in italics, existing law in which no change is proposed is shown in roman):
FEDERAL AIRPORT ACT
UNITED STATES SHARE OF PROJECT Costs
Sec. 10 (a) Except as provided in subsections (b), (c), (and (d)] (d), and (e) of this section, the United States share payable on account of any approved project under this Act shall be
(1) in the case of a project for the development of a class 3 or smaller airport, 50 per centum of the allowable project costs of the project;
(2) in the case of a project for the development of a class 4 or larger airport, such portion of the allowable project costs of the project (not to exceed 50 per centum) as the Administrator may deem appropriate for carrying out the provisions of this Act.
PROJECTS IN PUBLIC LAND STATES
(b) In the case of any State containing unappropriated and unreserved public lands and nontaxable Indian lands (individual and tribal) exceeding 5 per centum of the total area of all lands therein, the United States share under subsection (a) (1), and the maximum United States share under subsection (a) (2), shall be increased by whichever is the smaller of the following percentages thereof: (1) 25 per centum, or (2) a percentage equal to one-half the percentage that the area of all such lands in such State is of its total area.
PROJECTS IN ALASKA AND THE VIRGIN ISLANDS (c) The United States share payable on account of any approved project in the Territory of Alaska or the Virgin Islands shall be such portion of the allowable project costs of the project (not less than 50 per centum in the case of a class 3 or smaller airport, and not to exceed 75 per centum in the case of an airport of any class) as the Administrator may deem appropriate for carrying out the provisions of this Act.
H. Repts., 81-1, vol. 520
ACQUISITIONS OF LAND AND INTERESTS IN AIR SPACE (d) To the extent that the project costs of an approved project represent the cost of acquiring land or interests therein or easements through or other interests in air space, the United States share (1) in the case of a project for the develop ment of a class 3 or smaller airport, shall be 25 per centum of the allowable costs of such acquisition, and (2) in the case of a project for the development of a class 4 or larger airport, shall be not to exceed 25 per centum of the allowable costs of such acquisition.
(e) To the extent that the project costs of an approved project represent the cost of installation of high-intensity lighting on runways designated instrument-landing runways by the Administrator, the United States share shall be not to exceed 75 per centum of the allowable costs of such installation.
AMENDING THE FEDERAL AIRPORT ACT SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT MINIMUM RATES OF WAGES NEED BE SPECIFIED ONLY IN CONTRACTS IN EXCESS OF $2,000
JULY 8, 1949.-Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the State
of the Union and ordered to be printed
Mr. ROGERS of Florida, from the Committee on Interstate and
Foreign Commerce, submitted the following
(To accompany S. 1279)
The Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, to whom was referred the bill (S. 1279), to amend the Federal Airport Act so as to provide that minimum rates of wages need be specified only in contracts in excess of $2,000, having considered the same, report favorably thereon without amendment and recommend that the bill do pass.
The bill reads as follows: Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That subsection (b) of section 15 of the Federal Airport Act is amended to read as follows:
“MINIMUM RATES OF WAGES "(b) All contracts, in excess of $2,000 for work on projects approved under this Act which involve labor shall contain provisions establishing minimum rates of wages, to be predetermined by the Secretary of Labor, which contractors shall pay to skilled and unskilled labor, and such minimum rates shall be stated in the invitation for bids and shall be included in proposals or bids for the work."
The object of the bill is to exempt contracts for less than $2,000 from the existing requirement (Federal Airport Act, sec. 15 (b)), that all contracts for work on airport projects approved under the act involving labor must contain provisions establishing minimum rates of wages, to be predetermined by the Secretary of Labor.