The Aeronautical Repair Station Association has established an “FAA Authorization Countdown Clock,” warning Congress has little time to reach agreement on a “transformational” reauthorization bill before the September 30 deadline. Congress now has fewer than 100 days left before the agency’s current authorization expires, according to ARSA vice president of legislative affairs Daniel Fisher. “While there have been encouraging signs of progress, failure to enact long-term, stable FAA reauthorization legislation will cost real jobs and undermine the competitiveness of the U.S. aviation industry,” he said.
The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is expected to introduce its version of a reauthorization bill either by the end of this week or shortly after it returns from the week-long Fourth of July break. But with chairman Bill Shuster’s (R-Pa.) push for an independent ATC organization funded by user fees, some Washington insiders fear Congress might be headed for more short-term extensions before a long-term agreement is reached. Several lawmakers, including some key Democrats, have expressed reservations about Shuster's proposal.
AOPA president Mark Baker met with Shuster recently to reiterate his organization’s opposition to user fees, saying they could stifle general aviation. NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen, who attended the JetNet iQ Global Business Aviation Summit in New York City yesterday, similarly reiterated opposition to user fees, saying a “harmful” proposal may be looming. In the meantime, ARSA noted, “While behind-the-scenes work has begun and battle lines have been drawn, the reality is that time is running out.”