The House of Representatives issued its long-anticipated version of the FAA reauthorization bill last night, and user fees are not included. In lieu of user fees, however, the bill allows the FAA to raise fuel taxes a few cents per gallon and to charge a variety of miscellaneous fees, such as $130 to register an aircraft, $50 for an airman certificate and $45 for a medical certificate.
Joint Planning and Development Office
As the FAA’s major programs such as NextGen make their way through initial planning and implementation, at least a few members of Congress feel that the agency needs some assistance with R&D. Chairman of the House subcommittee on space and aeronautics Rep. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) introduced the Federal Aviation Research and Development Reauthorization Act of 2007 with cosponsor Rep. Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.) last week.
While preparing for traffic to double and perhaps even triple in the coming decades, the FAA has made clear that putting up the ground-based infrastructure to support that traffic will be expensive, ultimately costing billions of dollars.
Although a “road map” for the next-generation ATC system will be released June 23, members of the House aviation subcommittee at a hearing yesterday expressed some concerns about their efforts to date. Rep. James Oberstar (D-Minn.), chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, is worried about oversight, particularly ownership of ADS-B, the “backbone” of the NextGen system.
Aerospace Industries Association president and CEO John Douglass warned Congress that government agencies must redouble efforts to develop the nation’s next generation air transportation system (NextGen) or the nation will suffer serious operational–and economic–impacts.
Progress is being made toward the goal of rotorcraft taking their place in the national transportation infrastructure, according to presenters at January’s American Helicopter Society (AHS) infrastructure convention in Carmel, Calif. The most significant announcement was a congressional requirement in the 2004 federal appropriations bill for the FAA to prepare a document–a technology road map–to define how the U.S.
Unilaterally imposed work rules and the FAA reauthorization process are among the issues Pat Forrey, new president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (Natca), plans to address during his first year in office. Forrey took over the association’s reins in September after he defeated two-term incumbent John Carr.
Former Free Flight Phase 1 director Charles Keegan has been appointed vice president for operations planning in the FAA’s Air Traffic Management Organization (ATO), succeeding Norman Fujisaki, who is retiring. Keegan will continue as director of the Joint Planning and Development Office (JPDO), the interagency organization developing the long-term plan for the next-generation air transport system.
While Congress has acted on several recommendations from the Commission on the Future of the U.S. Aerospace Industry, the group is still concerned about the lack of coordination and communication between executive branch departments having jurisdiction over the air-transportation system.
While most of NASA is reaching for the stars, the segment of the agency that conducts aeronautics research here on earth has taken a budget cut for the second consecutive year following President Bush’s initiative to expand the exploration of space.