Following two weeks of negotiations, the US Senate has passed a reauthorisation bill that funds the Federal Aviation Administration for 18 months. The US$33 billion bill passed overwhelmingly with a vote of 95-3. It funds the Airport Improvement Programme at US$3.5 billion, an increase over the current US$3.3 billion level, which will provide funding for improvements to runways, aprons and other uses of aggregates.
Prior to passage nearly 20 amendments were added to the bull, including provisions to beef up security at airports after the Brussels tragedy. Senate Commerce and Transportation Committee Chairman John Thube said that he was hopeful that Senate action would prompt the US House of representatives to pass a reauthorisation bill soon, in order to hold a conference and resolution of differences between the bills before the current extension expires.
House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster, R-Penn., has done little to indicate how he intends to proceed. In February, the House Transportation Committee passed an FAA reauthorisation that contained a very controversial section that would have privatised the air traffic control system. There has been no action on the bill since committee approval.
“The Senate passed an FAA reauthorisation with an increase in the AIP program that we requested, unfortunately the term of the bill is not sufficient,” said Pam Whitted, NSSGA senior vice president for legislative and regulatory affairs. “We now urge Congress to move forward on reauthorisation before the current program extension expires July 15 and avoid continuing extensions like those that plagued earlier transportation program reauthorisations.”
Adapted from press release by Rebecca Bowden
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