Sixteenth Extension Passed For FAA Reauthorization Legislation

The U.S. House of Representatives voted on September 23, 2010, to extend the current authorization for federal aviation programs through December 31, 2010. H.R. 6190, Airport and Airways Extension Act of 2010, Part III ensures that aviation programs, taxes, and Airport and Airway Trust Fund expenditure authority will continue without interruption pending completion of long-term FAA reauthorization legislation. The long-term bill will not be completed before the current authority for aviation programs expires on September 30, 2010.

The most recent long-term FAA reauthorization act, the Vision 100-Century of Aviation Reauthorization Act (P.L. 108-176), expired on September 30, 2007. Although the House and Senate passed FAA reauthorization bills this year, the final bill is being delayed in the Senate due to a provision that would significantly increase the number of long-distance flights at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA). The provision is strongly opposed by Members of Congress and Senators who represent the Washington, D.C. metropolitan region. They argue it would create a burden on DCA by creating congestion at terminals and that it would siphon passengers away from Washington Dulles International Airport.

Without a long-term FAA bill, major aviation projects such as NextGen and the jobs they would create remain on hold. It is uncertain whether the opportunity for final passage of the bill will present itself after the federal elections.