Senate Finally Moves FAA Reauthorization to Floor
Debate on S.1451, a bill that would reauthorize FAA spending and programs for two years, began this morning on the Senate floor. In addition to renewing all of the FAA’s four major accounts–operations; facilities and equipment; Airport Improvement Program; and research, engineering and development–the FAA Transportation and Safety Improvement Act establishes clear deadlines for the adoption of existing NextGen navigation and surveillance technology. Namely, it would require ADS-B Out on all aircraft by 2015 and ADS-B In on all aircraft by 2018. And, as a result of the Colgan Air crash near Buffalo, N.Y., in February last year, the bill takes steps to ensure that “one level of safety” exists in commercial aircraft operations by mandating that all carriers adopt certain aviation safety programs. Other mandates include stricter rules on pilot hiring, annual reporting on implementation of NTSB recommendations and reevaluation of flight crew training, testing and certain requirements. S.1451 contains no new user fees, continuing funding through excise taxes on jet fuel and aviation gasoline. If the measure passes the Senate, it will go to a House-Senate conference committee, where legislators will resolve the differences between it and the House-passed version of FAA reauthorization. A temporary extension for the FAA expires at the end of this month.