Senate Passes Two-year FAA Reauthorization Bill

 - February 22, 2011, 9:30 AM

Prospects for breaking the logjam that has stalled an FAA reauthorization bill for more than three years grew better with passage in the Senate of the FAA Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act on Thursday by a vote of 87-8. Meanwhile, one day earlier in the lower chamber, the House Transportation Committee approved its FAA Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2011 by a vote of 34 to 25 one day earlier. “The last reauthorization was in 2003, and that expired in 2007,” said Rep. Tom Petri (R-Wis.), chairman of the House aviation subcommittee. “Since then, we have had a series of 17 extensions. That’s no way to run a vital federal agency.” The House version now goes to the entire House of Representatives for a vote. Although Nneither piece of legislation contains general aviation user fees., T, and tthere are several major differences between inthe two bills. For example, the Senate bill would run for just two years, while the House version would be for four years. And while both set deadlines and metrics for measuring NextGen progress, the Senate bill “improves” the Essential Air Service program and the House version phases it out. A House/Senate conference committee will have to iron out the discrepancies between the disparate legislation before it can go to President Obama for his signature.