New FAA funding bill introduced

February 10, 2009

The chairmen of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the aviation subcommittee introduced a new FAA funding bill Feb. 9. The Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act of 2009 authorizes nearly $70 billion for the agency for four years without creating new aviation user fees.

“It would be very wise to put this program in place,” AOPA President Craig Fuller said in a live TV interview via satellite with the Fox Business channel on Feb. 9. “It does come with some increased fuel charges to private aircraft, but that is far better than the user fee approach that was debated over the past few years. We’re hopeful that there is certainty of funding for general aviation over the years ahead.”

Fuller will testify on FAA funding before the aviation subcommittee Feb. 11.

The FAA funding bill introduced by Transportation Committee Chairman James Oberstar (D-Minn.) and aviation subcommittee Chairman Jerry Costello (D-Ill.) is nearly identical to H.R.2881, the FAA funding bill introduced in 2007 and supported by AOPA. That bill passed the House but stalled in the Senate. Congress has continued aviation taxes and FAA funding through a series of temporary extensions since the previous authorization legislation expired last year. The current extension will expire March 31.

“We have a new President and a new Congress,” said Oberstar. “This time we’ll get the job done.”