By AOPA ePublishing staff
Much of the FAA funding debate has centered on general aviation and the airlines. But there's another key player: airports. The FAA funding debate will determine the amount of federal grants available for airports.
And the FAA bill that Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters was pushing in the Senate last week would cut Airport Improvement Program (AIP) grant funding by nearly $1 billion.
During the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) General Aviation Issues Conference in Naples, Fla., on Oct. 22, AOPA made it clear to hundreds of airport executives how important the FAA funding issue should be to them.
"Airports depend on AIP grants to pave runways and taxiways, build hangars, and expand. It's critical that these airport executives understand the positive and negative aspects of the different FAA funding bills in Congress," said AOPA Vice President of Airports Bill Dunn.
"They can't afford to have their funding cut by $1 billion as the FAA bill proposes. Plus, the airports that would be hurt the most by such a cut would be rural general aviation airports—the ones that need it most."
Dunn joined representatives from AAAE, General Aviation Manufacturers Association, National Business Aviation Association, National Air Transportation Association, and National Association of State Aviation Officials for a panel discussion on the latest developments in the FAA funding debate.
Current versions of the House and Senate bills would slightly increase AIP funding.
The House has passed its FAA reauthorization bill (H.R.2881), but the Senate has yet to pass its version (S.1300).
The House and Senate previously granted an extension to keep the current aviation taxes and the FAA's authority to spend money. That expires Nov. 16, which means Congress will either have to pass an FAA funding bill soon or grant another extension.
October 25, 2007