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Wed, Jun 29, 2011

Congress Passes Another Short Term FAA Extension

20th Stop-Gap Funding Bill Expires July 22nd

On June 27, the U.S. Senate passed an FAA extension by unanimous consent. The bill (HR 2279) will fund the FAA through July 22. The most recent extension prior to this was set to expire on June 30. This will be the twentieth extension since the last long-term FAA authorization took place.

Lawmakers say the three-week extension is what they need to make a deal on a multi-year authorization. However, in order to make that happen, negotiations will need to be on a shortened schedule as the Senate is in recess July 4-8 and the House is in recess July 18-22.

According to the bill summary published on Thomas, the "Airport and Airway Extension Act of 2011, Part III":

  • Amends the Internal Revenue Code to extend through July 22, 2011, increased excise taxes on aviation fuels, the excise tax on air transportation of persons and property, and the expenditure authority for the Airport and Airway Trust Fund.
  • Increases the authorization of appropriations for the period beginning on October 1, 2010, and ending on July 22, 2011, for airport planning and development and noise compatibility planning projects (known as airport improvement projects [AIPs]). Extends through July 22, 2011, the authority of the Secretary of Transportation to make new AIP grants.
  • Extends until July 23, 2011: (1) the pilot program for passenger facility fee authorizations at non-hub airports, and (2) disclosure requirements for large and medium hub airports applying for AIP grants.
  • Directs the Secretary to extend through July 22, 2011, the termination date of insurance coverage for domestic or foreign-flag aircraft. Grants the Secretary discretionary authority to further extend such coverage through October 31, 2011. Extends through October 31, 2011, the authority of the Secretary to limit air carrier liability for claims arising out of acts of terrorism.
  • Extends through July 22, 2011: (1) grant eligibility for airports located in the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, and Palau; (2) grants to state and local governments for land use compatibility AIPs; and (3) authority for approving an application of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority for an airport development grant or for permission to impose a passenger facility fee.
  • Amends the Vision 100 - Century of Aviation Reauthorization Act to extend through Junly 22, 2011: (1) the temporary increase to 95% of the federal government's share of certain AIP costs, and (2) funding for airport development at Midway Island Airport.

Congress has not bee able to pass a long-term FAA funding bill since the last one expired in 2007.

FMI: www.house.gov, www.senate.gov, http://thomas.loc.gov

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