FAA Funding Extended To March 2009
It's been a challenge to get Congress to act on FAA funding this year, with elections looming and a change in administration certain, and this week the issue was postponed yet again -- this time until March 2009. "That means we can declare victory in the battle against user fees, at least in 2008," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "But it also means we start the battle anew in 2009," said Andy Cebula, AOPA executive vice president of government affairs. "A new Congress means new FAA funding bills will have to be introduced. And the user fee proponents haven't gone away. With rising deficits, the federal government has even more pressures on its spending and the need for new revenue sources." On Tuesday, both the House and Senate passed bills that will extend the deadline and authorize the FAA to continue its current spending level, according to AOPA.
The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) also weighed in, urging Congress to have a new funding plan ready to go by the time this one expires. "NBAA applauds Congress for the progress already made on FAA reauthorization, and this funding extension is important for allowing airport projects and other FAA programming to continue," said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen. "At the same time, we think it's also important for Congress to send to the President, as soon as possible, a completed reauthorization package that provides long-term stability and builds on the work already being done to modernize America's aviation system." Assuming that President Bush signs the bill, aviation taxes will continue at their current level, airports can continue to move forward with projects under the Airport Improvement Program, and no new fees will be imposed, says AOPA.