Senate Passes FAA Reauthorization Bill; On to the President
February 6, 2012 - The U.S. Senate overwhelmingly passed the FAA Reauthorization Bill, 75-20, late Monday, so it's on to the President to sign and give the agency its first long-term funding plan since 2007.
Late last week the House of Representatives approved the measure on a 248-169 vote, paving the way for Monday's Senate approval.
Passage of this bill provides a stable funding platform for the FAA to move forward through 2015 with its strategic initiatives such as NextGen and airport improvements, among others, said Doug Macnair, EAA vice president of government relations. "We are pleased that the House and Senate have recognized the importance of funding our nations' aviation system through the time-tested and successful methods of revenue generation without the need for new air traffic user fees or other complex and expensive revenue collection schemes," he said. "Fuel excise taxes are truly a fair and equitable, pay-as-you-go means of funding the national aviation system by the very people that use it and we are pleased that the Congress has once again reaffirmed this view."
EAA has been urging lawmakers to pass a full reauthorization bill, as FAA has been funded by 23 short-term extensions since 2007. A breakthrough in labor-relations language last month allowed the full bill to finally move forward.
As EAA reported last week, there are major victories for GA within the bill, including no GA user fees or fuel tax increases. Funding is included for airport improvement projects, unleaded avgas research, and NextGen air traffic modernization.
"EAA is gratified that several of our long-term initiatives, specifically designed to address vexing issues facing some of our members, have come to fruition in the bill such as the ability for airports to engage in residential through-the-fence agreements with adjacent landowners, where appropriate, without being in violation of the airport funding grant assurances, and language that authorizes the FAA to release design data to help owners maintain their vintage aircraft when a manufacturer is no longer supporting the product or is no longer in existence," Macnair added. "These are tangible examples of the way EAA advocacy works to solve sometimes very personal, local and intractable obstacles to recreational flying on behalf of our members on a national stage."