House extends FAA funding authorization

November 8, 2007

The House of Representatives on Nov. 6 passed a six-week extension of the current FAA funding authorization. The House action needs to be ratified by Senate, so that the current system of aviation taxes will continue until the end of the year, giving the Senate more time to act on its version of a new FAA funding bill.

“With everything else that the Senate has on its plate, we’re not likely to see any action on FAA funding until the first of next year,” said AOPA President Phil Boyer. “That means AOPA members need to be ready to answer our call next year as we renew our push for a permanent FAA funding bill without user fees.”

The current FAA funding authorization was scheduled to expire on Sept. 30. The House passed its version of a new bill (H.R.2881) on Sept. 20, but the Senate is still considering its bill. That’s why the current legislation had to be extended. Without funding legislation in place (technically called an authorization), the government couldn’t collect aviation taxes and, therefore, the FAA would have to shut down.

While some observers think Congress may opt to extend the current funding authorization again until the end of 2008, “we really need a permanent FAA funding bill,” said Boyer. “Air traffic control modernization and airport improvements are multi-year projects. FAA needs to be able to count on a specific level of funding out into the future to be able to plan and schedule these critical projects.”