FAA Gets Reauthorization Deadline

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The FAA has been given until May to outline its needs and wants for the next four years. In hearings last week, Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John McCain told FAA Administrator Marion Blakey that if Congress doesn't have the agency's reauthorization proposal by then, the politicians would themselves set the FAA's course. ATM Global obtained an early draft of the proposal and reported it calls for $57 billion in funding --  2001's three-year AIR-21 began life with $40 billion in authorized funding for federal aviation programs. AIR-21 was composed of $33 billion from the Aviation Trust Fund and $6.7 billion appropriated from the general fund. Blakey said the agency is working on the new proposal, that it will be done on time and may include some organizational changes and an experiment to allow airlines to have input on scheduling at congested airports during bad weather. Meanwhile, the agency continues to grapple with modernization programs.