15th FAA Extension

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The seemingly never-ending saga of actually paying for the FAA got another extension last week as, has become eerily routine, the House and Senate simultaneously passed bills to keep funding the agency for another three months based on the authorization that expired in 2007. It's the 15th such extension and it has all the alphabets hoping the coming lame-duck session will create the wiggle room needed to get the thing passed. In case you've forgotten why that's important, this is the reauthorization that ignores user fees and increases fuel taxes.

The issues that are holding up the process have little to do with aviation and plenty to do with politics. FedEx has summoned its considerable political resources to block a proposal that would allow local unionization of its workers. It currently enjoys the provisions of the Railway Act, which only allows national certification of unions. UPS, however, doesn't operate under the same rules and thinks it should. It, too, has considerable political clout. There's also tussle over allowing a more normal airline traffic flow to Reagan National in Washington by opening more long-distance flight slots.