49 U.S.C. § 47124 : US Code - Section 47124: Agreements for State and local operation of airport facilities

      (a) Government Relief From Liability. - The Secretary of
    Transportation shall ensure that an agreement under this subchapter
    with a qualified entity (as determined by the Secretary), State, or
    a political subdivision of a State to allow the entity, State, or
    subdivision to operate an airport facility relieves the United
    States Government from any liability arising out of, or related to,
    acts or omissions of employees of the entity, State, or subdivision
    in operating the airport facility.
      (b) Air Traffic Control Contract Program. - (1) The Secretary
    shall continue the low activity (Visual Flight Rules) level I air
    traffic control tower contract program established under subsection
    (a) of this section for towers existing on December 30, 1987, and
    extend the program to other towers as practicable.
      (2) The Secretary may make a contract with a qualified entity (as
    determined by the Secretary) or, on a sole source basis, with a
    State or a political subdivision of a State to allow the entity,
    State, or subdivision to operate an airport traffic control tower
    classified as a level I (Visual Flight Rules) tower if the
    Secretary decides that the entity, State, or subdivision has the
    capability to comply with the requirements of this paragraph. The
    contract shall require that the entity, State, or subdivision
    comply with applicable safety regulations in operating the facility
    and with applicable competition requirements in making a
    subcontract to perform work to carry out the contract.
      (3) Contract air traffic control tower program. - 
        (A) In general. - The Secretary shall establish a program to
      contract for air traffic control services at nonapproach control
      towers, as defined by the Secretary, that do not qualify for the
      contract tower program established under subsection (a) and
      continued under paragraph (1) (in this paragraph referred to as
      the "Contract Tower Program").
        (B) Program components. - In carrying out the program, the
      Secretary shall - 
          (i) utilize for purposes of cost-benefit analyses, current,
        actual, site-specific data, forecast estimates, or airport
        master plan data provided by a facility owner or operator and
        verified by the Secretary; and
          (ii) approve for participation only facilities willing to
        fund a pro rata share of the operating costs of the air traffic
        control tower to achieve a 1-to-1 benefit-to-cost ratio using
        actual site-specific contract tower operating costs in any case
        in which there is an operating air traffic control tower, as
        required for eligibility under the Contract Tower Program.

        (C) Priority. - In selecting facilities to participate in the
      program, the Secretary shall give priority to the following
      facilities:
          (i) Air traffic control towers that are participating in the
        Contract Tower Program but have been notified that they will be
        terminated from such program because the Secretary has
        determined that the benefit-to-cost ratio for their
        continuation in such program is less than 1.0.
          (ii) Air traffic control towers that the Secretary determines
        have a benefit-to-cost ratio of at least .50.
          (iii) Air traffic control towers of the Federal Aviation
        Administration that are closed as a result of the air traffic
        controllers strike in 1981.
          (iv) Air traffic control towers located at airports or points
        at which an air carrier is receiving compensation under the
        essential air service program under this chapter.
          (v) Air traffic control towers located at airports that are
        prepared to assume partial responsibility for maintenance
        costs.
          (vi) Air traffic control towers located at airports with
        safety or operational problems related to topography, weather,
        runway configuration, or mix of aircraft.
          (vii) Air traffic control towers located at an airport at
        which the community has been operating the tower at its own
        expense.

        (D) Costs exceeding benefits. - If the costs of operating an
      air traffic tower under the program exceed the benefits, the
      airport sponsor or State or local government having jurisdiction
      over the airport shall pay the portion of the costs that exceed
      such benefit, with the maximum allowable local cost share capped
      at 20 percent.
        (E) Funding. - Of the amounts appropriated pursuant to section
      106(k), not more than $6,500,000 for fiscal 2004, $7,000,000 for
      fiscal year 2005, $7,500,000 for fiscal year 2006, and $8,000,000
      for fiscal year 2007 may be used to carry out this paragraph.

      (4) Construction of air traffic control towers. - 
        (A) Grants. - The Secretary may provide grants to a sponsor of -
       
          (i) a primary airport - 
            (I) from amounts made available under sections 47114(c)(1)
          and 47114(c)(2) for the construction or improvement of a
          nonapproach control tower, as defined by the Secretary, and
          for the acquisition and installation of air traffic control,
          communications, and related equipment to be used in that
          tower;
            (II) from amounts made available under sections 47114(c)(1)
          and 47114(c)(2) for reimbursement for the cost of
          construction or improvement of a nonapproach control tower,
          as defined by the Secretary, incurred after October 1, 1996,
          if the sponsor complied with the requirements of sections
          47107(e), 47112(b), and 47112(c) in constructing or improving
          that tower; and
            (III) from amounts made available under sections
          47114(c)(1) and 47114(c)(2) for reimbursement for the cost of
          acquiring and installing in that tower air traffic control,
          communications, and related equipment that was acquired or
          installed after October 1, 1996; and

          (ii) a public-use airport that is not a primary airport - 
            (I) from amounts made available under sections 47114(c)(2)
          and 47114(d) for the construction or improvement of a
          nonapproach control tower, as defined by the Secretary, and
          for the acquisition and installation of air traffic control,
          communications, and related equipment to be used in that
          tower;
            (II) from amounts made available under sections 47114(c)(2)
          and 47114(d)(3)(A) for reimbursement for the cost of
          construction or improvement of a nonapproach control tower,
          as defined by the Secretary, incurred after October 1, 1996,
          if the sponsor complied with the requirements of sections
          47107(e), 47112(b), and 47112(c) in constructing or improving
          that tower; and
            (III) from amounts made available under sections
          47114(c)(2) and 47114(d)(3)(A) for reimbursement for the cost
          of acquiring and installing in that tower air traffic
          control, communications, and related equipment that was
          acquired or installed after October 1, 1996.

        (B) Eligibility. - An airport sponsor shall be eligible for a
      grant under this paragraph only if - 
          (i)(I) the sponsor is a participant in the Federal Aviation
        Administration contract tower program established under
        subsection (a) and continued under paragraph (1) or the pilot
        program established under paragraph (3); or
          (II) construction of a nonapproach control tower would
        qualify the sponsor to be eligible to participate in such
        program;
          (ii) the sponsor certifies that it will pay not less than 10
        percent of the cost of the activities for which the sponsor is
        receiving assistance under this paragraph;
          (iii) the Secretary affirmatively accepts the proposed
        contract tower into a contract tower program under this section
        and certifies that the Secretary will seek future
        appropriations to pay the Federal Aviation Administration's
        cost of the contract to operate the tower to be constructed
        under this paragraph;
          (iv) the sponsor certifies that it will pay its share of the
        cost of the contract to operate the tower to be constructed
        under this paragraph; and
          (v) in the case of a tower to be constructed under this
        paragraph from amounts made available under section 47114(d)(2)
        or 47114(d)(3)(B), the Secretary certifies that - 
            (I) the Federal Aviation Administration has consulted the
          State within the borders of which the tower is to be
          constructed and the State supports the construction of the
          tower as part of its State airport capital plan; and
            (II) the selection of the tower for funding is based on
          objective criteria.

        (C) Limitation on federal share. - The Federal share of the
      cost of construction of a nonapproach control tower under this
      paragraph may not exceed $1,500,000.