Yet Another FAA Funding Extension Approved
15th time the charm?
September 24, 2010 — After again failing to approve FAA reauthorization legislation, both houses of Congress passed an identical three-month extensions Thursday to fund the agency through 2010 when the current extension expires next Thursday, September 30, The Hill reported. It is the 15th such consecutive continuation since the last FAA reauthorization legislation expired in 2006.
Hopes are that lawmakers will use the upcoming lame-duck session to work out the remaining issues thwarting final passage. Among the issues remaining is an amendment to change labor laws allowing FedEx ground operations employees to unionize locally instead of nationally, putting that company on equal footing with UPS, and expanding the number of long-distance flights at Reagan Washington National Airport.
Hopes for reauthorization were high earlier this year when the Senate passed a $34.5 billion version of the three-year FAA Reauthorization Bill in March which, like the earlier House version, maintained the present system of (slightly higher) fuel excise taxes and eschewed user fees. Funding was provided for development of the Next Generation Air Traffic Control (NextGen) system as well as $8.1 billion for the Airport Improvement Program.