$ecurity Versus Airport Improvement
A Senate committee has approved an FAA Reauthorization Bill that could prevent airport improvement money from being diverted for security projects. The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee has sent the bill to the full Senate for consideration, the first step in a long process of ratification. It contains language that would require the FAA to set up a separate fund for security initiatives and leave airport infrastructure budgets alone. The bill budgets $3.5 billion for airport improvements in the coming year and $100 million more in each of the following years. AOPA says the security fund was its idea. AOPA also says it recommended parts of the bill that will make it easier for small airports to get federal funds because the minimum contribution from local authorities is being reduced. It also broadens the use of federal money to improve ancillary services after runways and taxiways are in good shape. A House committee is also working on the bill. When both sides of government have approved their version of the bill, a committee will meet to reconcile the differences before it goes back for ratification.