February 25, 2010
By Sarah Brown
After two years of temporary funding extensions, a long-term FAA reauthorization bill could pass the Senate before the Easter recess.
Senate leaders are planning to bring the FAA reauthorization bill to the floor during this working session, Sen. Byron Dorgan, chairman of the Senate aviation subcommittee, said in a presentation to the Washington Aero Club Feb. 24. The House passed a three-year reauthorization in May, and the Senate has yet to pass its version of the bill.
Dorgan said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid confirmed in a meeting of Democratic leaders that he intends to bring the bill to the floor this session. According to Congressional Quarterly, Reid said the reauthorization would “create thousands and thousands of jobs” and is long overdue. The FAA has been operating under temporary funding extensions since the last reauthorization ran out in 2007. The current extension ends March 31.
Both the long-term bill the House passed in May and the one under consideration in the Senate would fund the FAA through aviation fuel taxes, ticket taxes, and a general fund contribution. AOPA supports this method of funding the FAA and maintains that a long-term funding package offers the best assurance of achieving air transportation system modernization swiftly and efficiently.
A new FAA policy on obstructive sleep apnea that addresses many of the concerns raised by AOPA is scheduled to take effect March 2.
AOPA and the National Business Aviation Association have jointly filed an amicus, or friend of the court, brief in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals as part of the ongoing legal battle over the future of Santa Monica Municipal Airport.
AOPA worked with the flight training industry and FAA to quickly resolve a problem that suddenly put many rating applications on hold.
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