House Passes FAA Funding Extension
The House of Representatives has arranged for the FAA to remain funded through June 30, including provisions for $2.76 billion in "contract authority" to restart the suspended Airport Improvement Program (AIP). Timing is seen as key to AIP construction projects that can be negatively impacted by weather if those projects are not started early in the year. The Senate must now approve the extension prior to the current funding's expiration -- currently set for Feb. 29. Major industry players are expected to step forward to press governmental powers to see beyond the conflicts and confusion surrounding funding mechanisms (read: the user-fee argument) and secure FAA reauthorization. Many of those major players could become contract winners should this year's reauthorization provide for development of the NextGen satellite-based air traffic control system currently sought by the FAA.