House committee makes long-term FAA funding a priority

January 27, 2011

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is wasting no time in the 112th Congress in addressing the need for a long-term FAA funding bill. During its first meeting of the session Jan. 26, the committee, chaired by Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.), approved rules and an oversight plan that emphasizes its dedication to passing a long-term FAA reauthorization bill that will be enacted into law.

The oversight plan states that the aviation subcommittee “will pursue a long-term reauthorization bill that will result in job creation, and reformed and streamlined FAA programs and processes.”

In addition, the oversight plan says that the subcommittee will “ensure the taxes aviation users pay are actually returned to them in the form of aviation infrastructure improvements.”

“AOPA is pleased to see the importance Congress is placing on long-term FAA funding,” said Lorraine Howerton, AOPA vice president of legislative affairs. “The FAA has been operating on short-term funding extensions for several years, but it is critical that the agency receive long-term funding in order to support several key initiatives for the aviation industry, including modernizing the air traffic control system under NextGen.”

While the oversight plan did not specify what would be included in a long-term FAA reauthorization bill, 116 members of Congress have taken a stand against user fees. On Jan. 21, House Democrats and Republicans sent a letter to President Barack Obama urging his administration not to include aviation user fees in the Fiscal Year 2012 budget.

The House and Senate had passed different versions of a long-term FAA funding bill in the 111th Congress, but a final bill failed to be enacted because of controversial issues not related to user fees.