With Senate approval of a four-year FAA reauthorization package yesterday afternoon, the measure now goes to the White House for the President’s signature.
The Senate action ended more than four years of foot-dragging and often contentious debate, along with a record 23 short-term extensions of the FAA’s programs and funding since the last four-year reauthorization expired in the fall of 2007.
The legislation authorizes $63.3 billion for FAA programs through 2015, while retaining–at current levels–fuel taxes as the means for general aviation to pay for its use of the aviation system; it contains no new user fees.
The bill also gives the FAA Administrator one year to begin proposed rulemaking that would require all aircraft operating within “capacity constrained” airspace to equip for ADS-B IN capability to receive and display air traffic targets in the cockpit by 2020. That goes against the recently released advice of an industry/government aviation rulemaking committee (ARC) that recommended against mandatory equipage at this time. After studying the question for more than a year, the ARC based its opposition on the costs airlines would have to incur.