House Approves FAA Funding

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The U.S. House of Representatives Tuesday voted to provide $15.7 billion to the Federal Aviation Administration in fiscal year 2015, representing a slight increase from the current $15.6 billion funding level. AOPA is reporting that the bill prohibits the imposition of aviation user fees and also fees for digital navigational charts. The bill also directs the FAA to use funding to support the Small Airplane Revitalization Act, which would streamline Part 23 certification of small airplanes. “This bill includes several GA related provisions and we appreciate the House moving on this important piece of legislation,” said Mark Baker, president of AOPA.

Other elements of the bill that directly impact general aviation include: $252.2 million for ADS–B NAS Wide Implementation, up from $247.2 in the FAA’s budget request; $103.6 million for Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) for GPS; $6 million to support development of lead-free aviation gasoline, an increase from the $5.7 million in the president’s request; and $140 million for the Contract Tower Program, of which $9.4 million is for the contract tower cost share program.

The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee last week approved its own version of the FAA bill, proposing $15.86 billion in FY2015. It is awaiting full Senate approval. Once both chambers have passed their bills, the measures will be taken up by a conference committee of both House and Senate members. They will work out the differences in the two bills and then send a final version to the White House for the president’s signature.