ARSA praises Mica's standing up for small businesses

 - December 11, 2007, 5:46 AM

The Aeronautical Repair Station Association (ARSA) praised U.S. House of Representatives Aviation subcommittee chairman John Mica (R-Fla.) for urging the FAA to re-evaluate its recent proposal to subject employees of thousands of small businesses that indirectly serve the aviation industry to mandatory drug and alcohol testing.

The FAA had received comments earlier from the Small Business Administration (SBA) faulting the agency for its failure to assess the true effect of the drug and alcohol rule on small companies as required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act. In a letter sent to FAA Administrator Marion Blakey last December, Mica and six members of his subcommittee echoed the SBA’s concerns and questioned whether the proposal would further aviation safety.

Mica and his colleagues expressed concerns that the rule change “would dramatically expand the existing program to require small business subcontractors, such as metal finishers, dry cleaners or VCR repair shops, to implement or participate in an FAA-approved drug and alcohol testing program.” Mica criticized the FAA’s “lack of objective data on the actual number of small entities affected by the rule.” In its proposed rule, the FAA estimated that the rule change would affect only 297 small businesses. However, data collected by ARSA and verified by a leading aviation industry economist suggests the number could be as high as 22,000.