Congress Begins Debate on FAA Reauthorization
This week, the House and Senate revealed their respective bills to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Prior to the bills being released, the AGC co-chaired Transportation Construction Coalition (TCC) sent letters in support of increased funding for the FAA’s main infrastructure funding program, the Airport Improvement Program (AIP) and raising the cap on the Passenger Facility Charge (PFC). The House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee and the Senate Commerce Committee will mark up their respective bills next week.
Although both bills provide slight increases for AIP – from $3.35 billion to $3.817 billion in 2023 in the House bill and to $3.75 billion in 2021 in the Senate bill– they fail to modernize the PFC, which has been capped at $4.50 and hasn’t been raised since 2000. Without significant increases in AIP and lifting the cap on PFC, airports will have a difficult time addressing the estimated $20 billion in annual infrastructure improvements. AGC was able to secure language in the Senate bill that increases the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) size standard for the AIP program, while also ensuring that there is one size standard for all businesses participating in the AIP DBE program.
The starkest and most controversial difference between the bills is that the House version hands over the FAA’s Air Traffic Control operations to a new non-profit corporation, while leaving the FAA in charge of safety regulation and airport grants. This proposal faces a significant level of bipartisan opposition in the House and Senate and could potentially delay the bill from passing prior to the Sept. 30 expiration of the current FAA authorization.
For more information, contact Sean O’Neill at [email protected] or (202) 547-8892.