April 11, 2016
The Senate has undertaken debate on its version of a bill to reauthorize programs and funding for the FAA. Currently, the bill does not propose creating a privatized ATC system, and funding it with new user fees.
The legislation – formerly S.2658, has been folded into House Resolution (H.R.) 636 by the Senate to permit consideration of non-related tax provisions as well. The resulting bill continues to reflect general aviation industry priorities, including language to streamline the certification process for aviation technologies, accelerate implementation of the NextGen air traffic management system, and modernize third-class medical requirements for pilots of small general aviation aircraft.
“The Senate reauthorization bill continues to represent a smart, targeted approach to funding the FAA’s efforts to modernize what is already the world’s safest ATC system, and includes several provisions that would be of tremendous benefit to business aviation,” noted NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen.
Several amendments to the bill have already been approved by the Senate, including requiring airports to improve perimeter security, and to permit homeland security grants to be used for security-related airport projects outside the security identification display area.
As debate on the pending Senate FAA reauthorization bill renews this week, the legislation so far continues to reject calls to privatize the nation’s ATC system, a risky and controversial scheme proposed in the FAA reauthorization legislation awaiting further action in the U.S. House of Representatives.
“As the Senate considers this legislation, NBAA will monitor developments, and continue to emphasize that we don’t need a distracting debate over airline-supported calls for a privatized ATC network,” said Bolen. “It remains vital that the nation’s airports and airspace continue to function in the public interest, rather than turning over the air traffic system over to a combination of self-interested parties.”
The next step for H.R.636, should it pass the Senate, could be consideration by the House.
NBAA members are encouraged to continue making their voices heard with legislators during the FAA reauthorization debate. NBAA’s online Contact Congress resource enables them to encourage their elected officials to support the continued advancement of the Senate FAA reauthorization bill, which does not include an ATC-privatization scheme.