Bill Would Keep FAA Funded In Shutdown

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Aviation groups are lining up to support a bill that would keep the FAA funded during a government shutdown by temporarily shifting its source of money. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., and Aviation Subcommittee Chairman Rick Larsen, D-Wash., introduced the bill on Friday. If passed, the bill would allow money for operations to be taken out of the Airport and Airway Trust Fund, which is normally used for construction, infrastructure and technology projects. While there was no money for wages and other operational expenses during the shutdown, the trust fund remained fully funded. The National Business Aviation Association and National Air Traffic Controllers Association were the first to applaud the proposed legislation.

“Aviation is among the nation’s most regulated industries, requiring oversight and a host of services from the FAA,” said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen. “This bill would help ensure that aviation—a key component in the nation’s economy and transportation system—will avoid a potentially harmful disruption in the event of a government shutdown.” NATCA President Paul Rinaldi said that unusual circumstances demand creative solutions and after careful review the organization got behind the move. “There is no doubt that the status quo is broken and has been for some time. The 35-day shutdown was just the latest of many instances in which FAA, its workforce and the aviation industry were held hostage by a political fight that had nothing to do with aviation,” Rinaldi said. He said “stop-and-go funding” affects people and projects long after the money starts flowing again and stable funding is a cornerstone of maintaining and operating the system properly.