House Committee Wants Airport Money Back In Budget

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Against a backdrop of restraint and intense lobbying for increased funding by other government agencies, the FAA may be forced to accept an extra $1.4 billion or so that it doesn't want (or the administration doesn't want it to have). The House Transportation-Treasury subcommittee late Thursday decided to boost the FAA's budget to $15.2 billion this year, including about $1 billion for airport improvements the administration was prepared to drop. The cuts to the Airport Improvement Program would hurt many projects but it would have been particularly tough on small, GA-oriented airports. Included in the proposed cuts were $150,000 "entitlement" grants that about 2,500 small airports get every year to keep runways, taxiways, lights and ramps in good repair. At many airports, the grants encompass all or most of the annual maintenance budget.