FAA Needs to Better Ensure Project Eligibility and Improve Strategic Goal and Performance Measures

September 12, 2012

What GAO Found
The number of people in the United States exposed to significant airport noise has steadily declined from roughly 7 million people in 1975 to about 309,000 today. This change reflects large decreases in the size of areas that are exposed to significant airport noise and is primarily due to improvements in aircraft technology.

Since 1982, FAA has provided $5.8 billion in Airport Improvement Program noise grants to 481 airports for residential and public building noise insulation and land acquisition, among other project types. The majority of grants went to airports that voluntarily undertook Noise Compatibility Programs (NCP). While these funds benefitted thousands of people, GAO identified two areas of concern regarding FAA’s enforcement of project eligibility criteria that creates a risk that some undetermined amount of grant funds may have gone to projects that do not meet FAA’s project eligibility criteria.

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