Fiscal year 2010 funding for FAA and the Transportation Dept. is included in an umbrella appropriations bill that is expected to be passed by the House and Senate by the end of next week.
Several appropriations bills are covered by the wider legislation, which was approved Tuesday night by a House-Senate conference committee. The bill must now be passed on the House and Senate floors.
The transportation segment of the bill calls for $9.35 billion in funding for FAA’s operations budget, $3.5 billion for airport improvement program grants, $2.9 billion for facilities and equipment (F&E), and $190.5 million for research and development. Most budget lines were funded at a level between the House and Senate proposals.
Within the operations budget, the conference report allocates $7.3 billion for the FAA’s Air Traffic Organization. While noting that FAA reached a new contract deal with its controllers, lawmakers say the agency must find the additional cost “within its existing resources” for this fiscal year.
The conference report calls for a detailed study on FAA’s plans to deploy RNAV/RNP procedures this year, which must be submitted by Feb. 10. FAA also must provide Congress with controller staffing level targets for all its facilities.
Lawmakers allocated an extra $14 million above the administration request to increase aviation oversight, covering the hiring of an additional 186 inspectors. Within the F&E line, $834 million is for development of the NextGen ATC modernization effort.
Source: AVIATION WEEK