FAA Bills Protects Fence Agreements

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Given the advance press on President Barack Obama's budget and the bizarre legislative history of the FAA's current reauthorization process, it's far too soon to predict how it will all turn out but some groups see hope their specific issues will be addressed by the final bill. Among them is the small but organized effort to protect through-the-fence agreements, which allow access to airports by those who have hangar homes on adjacent privately owned property. Dr. Brent Blue, organizer of ThroughTheFence.org, said identical language in both the House and Senate versions of the bill would protect existing agreements and allow future deals between airports and adjacent residential property owners.

Blue said the versions of the bill he saw before the weekend included the line that stopped the FAA from determining an airport is "in violation of a grant assurance solely because the sponsor enters into an agreement that grants to a person that owns residential real property to adjacent to the airport access to the airfield ." The FAA decided last year to try to eliminate through-the-fence deals by tying them to federal grants. Blue fought the FAA first but found support at the legislative level with Rep. Sam Graves, R-Mo., and Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., who added the language to their respective bills.