September 24, 2007
By Warren D. Morningstar
The House of Representatives passed an extension to the current FAA funding bill on Sept. 24. If approved by the Senate, the legislation would extend until Dec. 31 the government's authority to collect aviation taxes and allow the FAA to continue spending at its current budget levels.
Without the extension, aviation taxes and FAA spending authority would lapse on Sept. 30. While the House has passed a new FAA funding bill (H.R.2881), the Senate has yet to complete action on its bill.
"Ten years ago when the FAA funding authorization lapsed, there was enough money in the aviation trust fund to tide us over," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "We don't have that cushion now. The House did the right thing, and we ask the Senate to quickly approve the extension."
"These taxes are necessary to support the Airport and Airway Trust Fund," said Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman James Oberstar (D-Minn.). "Any lapse in the aviation taxes could put the solvency of the trust fund at risk."
The aviation trust fund "cannot sustain a long-term lapse in taxes," said aviation subcommittee Chairman Jerry Costello (D-Ill.). "Aviation is too important to our nation's economy...to allow any lapse of taxes or funding for critical aviation programs."
The House sent the extension bill to the Senate, which can approve the House bill or draft its own extension legislation. A three-month extension would give the Senate time to complete work on its bill and allow the House and Senate to resolve the differences between their respective FAA funding bills in a conference committee.
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