Congress Approves FAA Funding
Before leaving for the Thanksgiving holiday, Congress approved fiscal year 2006 funding for the FAA totaling approximately $13.8 billion, which is $276 million above the current year and more than $1.1 billion higher than President Bush’s request. This includes $25 million to hire and train 595 new air traffic controllers and $12 million more than the President requested to hire and train safety inspectors in the office of aircraft certification and flight standards. The bill language contains no user fees, but general aviation organizations have warned that this battle is far from over. Pressure has been growing in Washington to support a funding system with FAA revenues tied to services provided. That means that potentially every FAA service would result in a direct charge to the pilot for that service. FY 2006 ends next September 30.