A House and Senate conference committee compromised late Tuesday on a four-year FAA reauthorization bill that could reach a floor vote in both chambers as early as next week, beating yet another extension deadline set for February 17. The agency has been operating under short-term extensions since the last long-term multi-year reauthorization expired in late 2007.
General aviation associations said they are studying the 375-page bill, which would fund the FAA through Fiscal Year 2015 at a total cost of $63 billion. AOPA already noted that the bill contains no increase in taxes for aviation gasoline or non-commercial jet fuel and funds the Airport Improvement Program to the tune of $13.4 billion. The bill provides funding authority for the Next Generation air traffic modernization program at about $1 billion a year, approximately the same amount as in the past two years.
“Helicopter operators in the Gulf of Mexico are already benefiting from NextGen and know how important modernization will be for the rest of the National Airspace System,” said Helicopter Association International president Matt Zuccaro.