Concern Over New FAA Budget…


Alphabet Groups Hope Congress Will Mitigate Cuts

The Bush administration on Monday released its $13.8 billion FAA budget proposal for the next fiscal year, down 1.27 percent from last year. Cuts affecting general aviation include $600 million lost by the Airport Improvement Program. “The small GA airports that can afford it the least would be hurt the most,” said AOPA‘s Andy Cebula. The FAA’s research and development budget would be cut 13 percent, which could affect ongoing work to find a replacement for leaded aviation gasoline and develop associated engine technology. The facilities budget would be cut 3 percent, giving the FAA less to work with to maintain and modernize its equipment. “This isn’t the final word on the budget, but a start,” said Cebula. The proposal now is in Congress, where lobbyists and committees already have started to battle out the details. “With federal dollars as tight as they are, this will be a difficult session,” Cebula said. “But we have a strong voice, and we will be heard.” National Air Transportation Association President James Coyne also expressed concern over the cuts to the FAA. “The administration is neglecting to look at the big picture when it comes to analyzing our national aviation system,” Coyne said. “Reducing much-needed funds for the FAA to modernize the air traffic control system only serves to worsen the problems we face today.” Ed Bolen, president of the National Business Aviation Association, is disappointed that funding for runway construction has been cut. “Given that airport capacity is increasingly restricted, and runways are a key means of easing airport congestion, it is unfortunate that critically needed resources for building runways are being proposed for cuts,” Bolen told AVweb yesterday. The fiscal year begins October 1.