Senator Wants Reauthorization Bill Delayed

  • E-Mail this Article
  • View Printable Article
  • Text size:

    • A
    • A
    • A

FAA Says Let The Vote Proceed...

The FAA hopes to have its Reauthorization Bill in place by the end of the month despite a proposal by a senator to delay Congress' vote on $60 billion package by six months. John Rockefeller (D.-W.Va.) has proposed a bill that would extend the funding authority of the agency for six months so Congress can reconsider a section of the bill that would permit the privatization of 69 so-called VFR towers. But a top FAA official says he doubts Rockefeller's bill will pass. "We just don't see that proposal having any support," Communications Director Greg Martin told AVweb. "It's entirely too premature to suggest an extension is a possibility." Martin said agency brass hope Congress will simply schedule a vote on the whole bill before the agency's funding authority runs out on Sept. 30. "There's nothing more to be learned (about the contract tower issue)," Martin said. Rockefeller said there is widespread concern among both Republican and Democrat politicians about the privatization issue and pointed out that the Senate voted to keep air traffic control under government control "out of a deep sense that the safety of our skies is a basic governmental function." He didn't mention that almost 200 towers are already run by private contractors and, according to a recent Department of Transportation Inspector General's report, operate much more economically and report fewer mistakes than comparable FAA facilities. The National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) lauded the extension proposal.