Funding Matters

This article originally appeared in the November edition of Your RDU. It is the first of several planned articles on funding. 

One of my duties as president and CEO of the Airport Authority is to watch the horizon for challenges that may affect Raleigh-Durham International Airport.

The aviation industry is particularly susceptible to challenges. Now, our ability to fund development that will keep pace with growth is being challenged.


Federal limits on key airport funding mechanisms may challenge RDU’s ability to remain a vital economic asset and driver.

Congress is in the process of debating the future of the Federal Aviation Administration and, with it, key federally regulated income streams that will determine whether and how we can grow in the future.

But why should this matter to you? RDU has joined with other airports to urge Congress to pass an FAA reauthorization bill that gives us the ability to continue funding key airport improvements.

Funding matters for our economy. As a transit point that serves 9.5 million departing passengers each year and thousands of tons of cargo, RDU is a key contributor to the region’s economic health. A recent study by the N.C. Department of Transportation shows that we pump $8 billion each year into our local economy.

Funding matters for jobs. More than 5,000 employees work on-site at the airport every day. Beyond that, RDU supports 20,000 jobs throughout our region, from transportation providers to hotels to businesses that rely on cargo that arrives and is shipped out daily.

Funding matters for infrastructure. Our recently completed 15-year building program included the new Terminal 2 and parking garage and a major renovation of Terminal 1. Maintaining our facilities costs approximately $30 million a year. Within 10 years, our 10,000-foot runway will reach the end of its design life and require replacement at an estimated cost of $100 million.

While RDU generates 98 percent of its revenue from our own business enterprises, we rely on federal and state grants as well as a critical locally set passenger fee that Congress caps to fund our major facility improvements. In recent years, the money from these programs is being diverted to other uses or simply becoming scarce.

Airport funding matters to this community. We urge you to stay informed about the airport’s financial future, include the airport in discussions about drivers in our region and state, and make airport funding a priority for local, state and federal funding. Help ensure that RDU remains a vital economic asset and driver.

Further reading: How RDU funds operations and capital improvements. 

About Mike Landguth

Mike Landguth, AAE, is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority, which manages Raleigh-Durham International Airport. Mike joined RDU in November 2011. He and his family live in Cary along with their trusty canine sidekick, Thunder.
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One Response to Funding Matters

  1. Kennedy Gilly Jr says:

    On Thu, Dec 3, 2015 at 8:26 PM, Kennedy Gilly wrote:

    Dear RDU,

    I read today’s New and Observer today about Uber and RDU with interest. I am having a great deal of trouble with Uber having unilaterally added an after the ride $200 “penalty” charge to my credit card after my son used Uber the other night. The first letter below from me to my credit card company explains the situation from my point of view. The second is an email from Uber explaining its position with a final comment by me. I do not think RDU would want Uber arbitrarily and after the fact imposing $200 charges on customers. I am now having to fight this charge both to Uber and my credit card company. Please give a copy of this to the RDU Board.


    Kennedy J. Gilly Jr.

    My letter to Uber and my credit card co:


    October 22, 2015

    Nationwide Bank
    Credit Card Disputes
    PO Box 9215
    Old BethPage, NY 11804 Re: My Nationwide Credit Card ending in

    Dear Sirs:

    Per your request this is to advise that the charge of $200 made to my NW credit card on October 20, 2015 by Uber was unjustified, unauthorized and is disputed.
    I have attached hereto a copy of a string of emails whereby my son and I attempted to clear this up with Uber to no avail.

    Briefly here is what happened: My son obtained a ride home from an Uber driver in Raleigh, NC on the night of October 18, 2015. The amount of $15.34 was properly charged to my card for that ride.

    On October 20, 2015 my son received a communication from the Uber driver that she had decided that he had “messed up” her car and she was charging $200 to our NW credit card as a cleanup fee or penalty. My son did not in any way mess up this Uber driver’s car. Certainly she never said a word to him about that on the night she drove him home. Instead two days later she sent my son a note making the claim that he had messed up her car and unilaterally taking a $200 charge against my Nationwide credit card using whatever method Uber uses to pay itself. Uber has advised that the entire $200 will go to its self interested driver. There is absolutely no demonstrative evidence to show that her car was messed up, when any mess occurred or that any “messing up” was done by my son. At worst it is the Uber driver’s word against my son’s word.

    Therefore this charge of $200 which was unauthorized and unjustified, is DISPUTED.

    Kennedy J. Gilly Jr.

    Uber’s email “justifying” this charge is:

    “Hi Kennedy,

    This is Elizabeth from uber support, happy to explain this additional charge.

    Your driver let us know that there was a mess on the trip, resulting in a need for a car cleaning. Drivers are unable to make trips following a mess like this, and many of our driver-partners depend on driving for their livelihood. The cleaning fee goes 100% to your driver.

    I received pictures of the mess, which I’ve attached here.
    More information on this fee is available on

    If you have additional details that you feel I should know about what happened on this trip, please let me know.

    Best Regards,


    More of my comments:

    In support of its contention about the mess my son supposedly caused, Uber attached three pictures its driver apparently took with a cell phone of the interior of her car. But there is no picture of my son or any human being and the time and place the photos were taken is unspecified. If my son did this why did the Uber driver not take a picture of him before he exited her car? Simply put Uber’s driver is claiming this alleged mess pictured in a car was caused by my son in her car and using that to unilaterally and arbitrarily impose a “fine” upon my son of $200. My son denies the Uber driver’s allegations vehemently.

    Despite the completely indeterminate nature of these pictures and the lack of any other supporting evidence, Uber has chosen to accept its driver’s story and charge this $200 fine to my credit card. I have asked Uber to refund the $200 to my credit card to no avail. Since RDU is getting ready to approve a lucrative agreement with Uber to the detriment of licensed and higly regulated taxis, I think this unilateral and arbitrary conduct of Uber in imposing $200 fines, more than 24 hours after my son completed his ride with the Uber driver, on its customers should be considered by the Board.

    I have also advised the NC Attorney General’s consumer affairs division and the News and Observer about this. I do not think Uber drivers should have the arbitrary and completely discretionary authority to impose such fines on its customers.

    Thanks for your consideration.

    Kennedy J. Gilly Jr

    Kennedy Gilly
    10:00 PM (3 minutes ago)

    to airservice
    I would also point out that Taxicabs do not have the unilateral discretion to levy a $200 fine on a customer, much less charge it to a customer’s credit card if in possession of such information.

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