House Aims To Cut FAA Funding
The House of Representatives and the Senate are both considering legislation that would roll back funding of the FAA to 2008 levels, but still provide funding toward NextGen, according to a Reuters report, Friday. Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Rep. John Mica, said in a statement that the proposal "increases the efficiency and effectiveness of our aviation programs." The plan reportedly seeks to cut $4 billion out of the FAA's funding through cost savings found in programs that the FAA will be asked to identify and that do not impact safety. FAA administrator Randy Babbitt said the cuts would further slow the deployment of NextGen. And, as worded, the House version could have a large impact on small airports.
NextGen is currently consuming about $1 billion per year and that spending had been expected to continue through 2018. While the proposed funding cuts may be controversial, the legislation also includes another provision that's almost sure to earn some enemies. The House proposal would kill the Essential Air Service program. That program subsidizes air services at more than 100 smaller airports -- and any proposal that cuts it is not expected to pass through the Senate.