Congress OKs FAA Funding For Six Months
Congress voted on Thursday to extend FAA funding, which was set to expire on Saturday, for six months. The extension allows more time for debate on whether air traffic control should be privatized, and whether changes should be made in the requirements for commercial pilots. GA advocates were quick to weigh in. "We thank members of Congress for passing an extension ensuring the FAA remains open and authorized for the next six months, as we requested in the letter sent to congressional transportation leaders earlier this month,” said GAMA President Pete Bunce in a news release on Thursday afternoon.
“GAMA urges Congress to now focus on passing bipartisan, consensus-driven FAA reauthorization legislation that addresses many critical aviation issues, such as aircraft certification reform and continued implementation of on-schedule modernization programs. They should reject air traffic control privatization proposals, including Title II of H.R. 2997, which are divisive, distracting and fraught with risks."
NBAA also welcomed the vote. “While NBAA has always supported passage of a long-term FAA reauthorization bill, we appreciate that congressional leaders have taken this important step to provide an extension of FAA funding and operating authority, so that the agency can continue to have the resources needed for its critical safety, infrastructure and other programs," said President Ed Bolen in a statement. Funding for the FAA under the current authorization expires on Saturday, and both the House and Senate continue to debate reauthorization for the agency.
Advocates of privatization say ATC and those who use its services would benefit by being relieved of this annual debate over funding, but many GA advocacy groups say privatization would result in the airlines having too much control over the system, to the detriment of business aviation and private flyers. The extension approved by Congress on Thursday expires on March 31, 2018.