March 7, 2018 — With the battle over ATC privatization settled in the House, both House and Senate leaders have committed to working toward a longer-term FAA reauthorization and funding plan that would bring the needed stability for the agency and allow it to advance its modernization goals.
Such a bill is already in the Senate, where in 2016, the Senate Commerce Committee passed a bipartisan proposal that included many of the positive elements contained in H.R. 2997, but without the devastating ATC privatization language or any user fees on GA. This legislation provides a solid foundation to settle FAA reauthorization and funding for an extended period, eliminating the series of continuing resolutions that has been standard process for nearly a decade.
“Without the controversy over ATC privatization, there are a large number of positive elements contained in House and Senate proposals that should move forward in a bipartisan manner,” said Sean Elliott, EAA’s vice president of advocacy and safety.
House and Senate leaders expect to pass another continuing resolution before FAA funding expires on March 31 to allow time for writing a long-term bill that would cover the agency for as many as four years.
“Reauthorization will allow the FAA for the next four years to continue with the modernization plan that is already underway,” EAA CEO and Chairman of the Board Jack J. Pelton told EAA’s The Green Dot podcast this week. “Probably the biggest on that list is the implementation of ADS-B, where the general aviation fleet is equipping at a much faster rate than the airlines. We’ll likely see some heavy infrastructure spending on FAA facilities that need a capital infusion for repairs and upkeep. … And, as air traffic controllers retire, the FAA has not been able to backfill and get new classes of controllers in place to keep up with retirements. Reauthorization will allow the FAA to get back into a more normal business rhythm.”
EAA will continue to monitor progress of these discussions and work with other GA organizations, to ensure no surprises are contained that could harm the freedom of flight and access to the nation’s airspace.