Congress finally passes long-term FAA/system reauthorization ...
... let’s run through the highlight reel of H.R. 658-FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, as approved on Capitol Hill and sent to the President.
• Authorizes FAA’s Airport Improvement Program at $3.35 billion for FY2012-2015, and FAA’s Research Engineering and Development account at $168 million annually during the period.
• PFCs: Makes permanent a pilot program to streamline the process, but fails to increase the cap from $4.50 or index it to inflation — airport priorities.
• For most projects, fails continue a provision in Vision 100 that provided for a 95/5 percent federal/local share for AIP-funded projects, thereby setting the government share at a 90/10 split.
• Expands the number of airports that can participate in the FAA privatization pilot program from five to ten.
• Authorizes $143 million for the Essential Air Service program in FY2012; $118 million in FY2013; $107 million in FY 2014; and $93 million in FY 2015.
• Makes the Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) permanent, with funding levels continuing to be subject to Congressional appropriations. ACRP has been a boon to industry analysis, bringing in top-notch stakeholders who take a ‘best practices’ approach to providing guidance on airport operational issues.
Time for the industry (and FAA) to shake, rattle, and roll and kick-start revitalization. Always nice to have a plan ... we now have a bill that provides the opportunity.
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A ball and chain placed on the backs of FBOs in the last funding bill was the Fuel Fraud Tax, which attempted to make sure people weren’t bypassing higher highway taxes by siphoning off jet-A and using it off-airport. Credit NATA and VP Eric Byer for a gambit to get that corrected, since it wasn’t addressed in FAA reauthorization, in the highway bill under consideration.
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Finally ... we’re reformulating our aviation package, which includes delivering a re-sized airport business magazine. All part of how we deliver information to industry, and led by our new portal www.AviationPros.com.
Thanks for reading.