On a vote of 393-13 the House of Representatives has passed the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill which has guaranteed the agency’s funding for the next five years. The legislation has also included provision for directing how disaster funds are spent, though there is no financial allocation via the measure for such programs.
Legislation should reach the Senate floor by May or June and long-term reauthorization should take place by the end of August this year.
According to a Republican aide, in relation to a number of recent disaster and emergency aid packages passed by Congress, for which a lot of funding remains unallocated, this bill would apply to those funds as well as any future disaster funds.
Approximately $4.35 billion per year would be allocated for the FAA in the legislation. A few major FAA programs would receive funding authorizations. An additional US$1 billion would be authorized for an amendment proposed by House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster to create a report on the agency’s Next Generation Air Transportation System to evaluate air traffic control technology.
The legislation was formally introduced in the House last week, having previously included a measure proposed by Shuster to privatize air traffic control. This was removed from the legislation after Democrats opposed the idea and thus there would be insufficient votes for it to pass.
The Shuster amendment that was included would direct the FAA to report on the agency’s Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) to evaluate air traffic control technology and submit the findings to Congress. The NextGen plan to modernize the air transportation system has been described as costly, delayed, and ill-defined.
Shuster said in a statement last week that: “The FAA Reauthorization Act will ensure long-term investment in many of the nation’s airports. The bill will also cut the red tape that can bog down our manufacturers and innovators, and allow them to be more competitive and provide more good-paying American jobs.”