Bill postpones FAA funding debate

March 31, 2009

President Barack Obama has signed into law a bill authorizing an extension of funding for the FAA through the end of the fiscal year. The extension gives Congress another six months to pass an FAA reauthorization bill by extending the current aviation taxes and the FAA’s authority to spend money.

AOPA supports the proposed Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act of 2009, which would authorize nearly $70 billion for the agency for four years.

Testifying before the House aviation subcommittee in February, AOPA President Craig Fuller said that AOPA members strongly support the bill introduced by House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman James Oberstar (D-Minn.) and aviation subcommittee chairman Jerry Costello (D-Ill.). The committee should approve legislation according to “the time-tested system of passenger transportation and GA fuel taxes in combination with general fund revenues to support the FAA and the aviation system,” Fuller said in his prepared testimony.

Fuller has met privately with several influential members of Congress, including Oberstar and Costello of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) and aviation subcommittee Chairman Byron Dorgan of the Senate Commerce Committee.

In the absence of a four-year reauthorization bill, the FAA has been operating under a series of temporary extension measures. The latest extension was set to expire March 31. An omnibus appropriations bill that included funding for the FAA through the end of the fiscal year became law on March 11; a week later, the House and Senate passed the bill that authorizes the funding, which Obama recently signed.