Update on the FAA Reauthorization Bill
In a post on rollcall.com , Representative Jerry Costello urges Congress to “finish the job” regarding the passage of the FAA Reauthorization bill that has been beating around Capitol Hill for more than three years. Representative Costello, Democrat from Illinois, is Chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Aviation.
I believe most everyone in General Aviation and the Airlines support the funding to develop the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen). The airlines are still squawking about who will pay the cost of new equipment required to upgrade their fleets to work with NextGen. I can not imagine any situation where the airlines will ever really be content with how they are being treated by the government, so nothing new there.
NextGen will hopefully bring efficiency to a system of air traffic control that is at present marginalized and operating on 1960’s ground radar based technology. Satellite guidance should allow more air traffic to flow in crowded corridors which will reduce delays and save fuel. Maybe there will even be some reduction in the frustration passengers are experiencing today with airline travel! Less delays on the ground and the air surely will make people happier. Additionally, the airways will be safer with the new technology that will be more accurate in aircraft location and guidance.
We have posted several times about this Bill on Plane Conversations because it is important to our national air transportation infrastructure.
I don’t know the exact financial picture of this legislation. I do know that an increase in the aviation fuel tax will fund some portion if not all of it. In essence the users of the aviation system, including general aviation, will pay for the new technology that will benefit everyone. Most people don’t mind paying for something if they see the value.
Hopefully the FAA will manage the program development wisely and give us our money’s worth. Time will tell. For now, Congress needs to do their job and get a Bill to the President to sign.