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Congressional panel takes important first step to protect airportsCongressional panel takes important first step to protect airports

Congressional panel takes important first step to protect airports

A House panel charged with funding the FAA (through the Department of Transportation) late last week made it clear where Congress stands, rejecting the Bush administration's proposed $1 billion budget cut for airport improvement spending.

Under the leadership of Chairman Joe Knollenberg (R-Mich.) and Ranking Member John Olver (D-Mass.), the Appropriations Committee's transportation subcommittee recommended the congressionally authorized funding level of $3.7 billion for the Airport Improvement Program (AIP). Under federal spending formulas, if AIP spending falls below $3.2 billion, entitlements for GA airports are eliminated. The subcommittee's actions preserve GA entitlements.

"We are extremely encouraged by the subcommittee's action to recognize the importance of federal funding for general aviation airports," said Andy Cebula, AOPA executive vice president of government affairs. "However, this is only a first step in the lengthy process of approving federal spending, and we will continue pressing Congress to protect America's GA airports by passing full funding."

The full Appropriations Committee is expected to take up the funding bill after Congress returns from its Memorial Day recess.

May 30, 2006

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