House OKs FAA Funding For Six Months


The U.S. House of Representatives passed a funding bill on Monday that aims to extend current levels of funding for the FAA through the end of next March. Currently, the FAA’s funding is set to expire on Wednesday night. The bill now goes to the Senate, where it’s expected to be voted on before the deadline, according to The Hill. When FAA funding was cut during the 2013 sequester, air traffic controllers were laid off and flights were delayed, until Congress passed a quick fix to restore funds. “We’re pleased that the House has acted to keep the FAA running,” said Jim Coon, AOPA senior vice president of government affairs. “We hope the Senate will quickly follow suit.”

Under the provisions of the extension, the FAA will receive $4.87 billion for operations, $1.68 billion for Airport Improvement Program grants, $1.3 billion for the construction of navigational facilities and equipment, and $78.4 million for research and engineering, including money for ongoing testing of possible replacements for leaded avgas, according to AOPA. The authorization extension also supports funding for non-FAA contracted control towers. The House bill was introduced on Friday by Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster, R-Pa. In the Senate, debate over funding for Planned Parenthood has bogged down the budget process.

NATCA is lobbying for the government to change the way the FAA is funded, to avoid these recurring budget issues. “For years, the FAA has faced an unstable, unpredictable funding stream, and each interruption has negatively affected all aspects of the FAA’s operations and planning,” said Trish Gilbert, NATCA executive vice president. “Members of Congress cannot put the country through another shutdown. They must prevent it and find a way to provide stable funding for the NAS.”