House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) is considering deferring until September release of comprehensive FAA reauthorization legislation, including a measure for an independent ATC organization. Shuster was expected to introduce the bill either this week or early next, with full House consideration in July.
But the committee yesterday notified aviation groups that House leadership has delayed floor consideration until September, National Association of State Aviation Officials president and CEO Greg Principato said. As a result, the committee might hold off on releasing the bill until closer to the scheduled floor time, aviation groups believe. If that holds, the delay would provide Congress with little time to pass a bill before the FAA’s current authorization expires on September 30.
The chairman earlier in June outlined a reauthorization proposal to create a user-funded non-profit ATC organization. While Shuster has not yet fully detailed his proposal, his ATC concepts have drawn substantial opposition from general aviation groups, FAA employee unions and Senate appropriators, among others.
NATA president and CEO Tom Hendricks today told members the association is preparing for a letter writing campaign to Congress once details of the bill are released. “It is possible to develop and deploy cutting-edge technology within the government structure and this is already occurring at the FAA,” Hendricks said. “NATA has also been quite clear that it will not support ‘leap of faith’ proposals that place general aviation’s fate in the hands of a yet-to-be-determined board of directors and leave unresolved how general aviation will help fund the system.”
<Editor's Note: This article has been updated to clarify the timing of NATA's letter-writing campaign.