WASHINGTON – Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Federal Aviation Administration Administrator Randy Babbitt today warned that new construction projects will not begin and many will be delayed if Congress is unable to work out its differences and pass a clean extension of the FAA Reauthorization bill.
“Congress needs to do its work. If they can’t pass a bill, local construction workers throughout the nation will see their projects and paychecks come to a halt. This is no way to run the best aviation system in the world,” said Secretary LaHood.
The current FAA reauthorization expires at midnight this Friday, July 22, 2011. Congress has extended the FAA’s authorization 20 separate times without controversy. Without an extension, FAA will be unable to move forward on important airport construction projects that include good paying jobs for local communities across the country.
The Airport Improvement Program, which provides construction project grants to airports, will be shut down and unable to provide roughly $2.5 billion for airport projects in all 50 states that could put thousands of people to work in good paying jobs. A detailed breakdown of this funding by state is below.
“Controversial provisions in the House passed bill are needlessly threatening critical FAA programs and jeopardizing thousands of public and private sector jobs. I urge Congress to resolve its differences so we do not have to needlessly furlough employees who are performing valuable work for the public,” said FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt. Without another extension, up to 4,000 FAA employees in 35 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico will be furloughed and forced to go without pay. Large numbers of employees in New Jersey, New York, California, Georgia, Oklahoma, Texas, Washington, Illinois and the District of Columbia will be affected. This includes many of FAA’s engineers, scientists, research analysts, administrative assistants, computer specialists, program managers and analysts, environmental protection specialists, and community planners. A detailed list of states where employees will be furloughed is below.
In addition, without this legislation, approximately $200 million a week in airline taxes will not be collected or deposited into the Airport and Airway Trust Fund (AATF).
States Facing Loss of Construction Dollars
American Samoa 3,500,000
District of Columbia 300,000
Transportation Secretary LaHood, FAA Administrator Babbitt Visit Shut Down LaGuardia Worksite and Tell Congress Not to Fly Home for the August Recess Without Passing an FAA Bill
LaHood: "Congress needs to do its job for the good of these workers, for the good of our economy and for the good of America’s aviation system."
Congress adjourned for the week without passing a clean FAA reauthorization extension.
The FAA estimates that 7,540 controllers could retire by 2011. That's more than half the current work force.
Nearly 4,000 FAA personnel, many needed to oversee various aspects of these projects, were furloughed on Saturday.