March 26, 2010
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  • The following information was released by Nebraska Senator Mike Johanns:

    The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization bill passed the Senate today, thanks in part to three amendments proposed by Senator Mike Johanns, all of which were accepted by unanimous consent.

    The final bill passed by a vote of 93-0. Sen. Johanns’ amendments ensure that FAA considers the impact of its policies on aviation in rural states such as Nebraska.

    “It is important to remember that the FAA’s responsibility goes beyond large airports and commercial airlines; rural airports and general aviation are sometimes hit much harder by federal regulations, which can cause a ripple effect in states like Nebraska,” Johanns said. “I am pleased the FAA Reauthorization bill now includes specific acknowledgement of these smaller yet significant contributors to our state economy and our aviation system as a whole.”


    Sen. Johanns’ three amendments to the FAA Reauthorization bill would:

    Require the FAA Administrator to identify the benefits for small- and medium-sized airports and general aviation users of moving the management of aviation navigation, known as NextGen, from a radar system to a Global Positioning System (GPS).

    o NextGen systems would allow air traffic controllers to guide aircraft with more precision, potentially enhancing safety and reducing gridlock both in the air and on the ground at airports.

    Extend the deadlines by which aircraft must install new NextGen equipment if FAA does not publish rules setting the standards for the new equipment by required deadlines.

    o Expenses for NextGen equipment could be especially difficult for small- and medium-sized airports and general aviation to absorb. The amendment protects aircraft users from being subjected to mandated expenses without clear directions on the new requirements from FAA.

    Require the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to study the impact of increases in aviation fuel prices on the long-term viability of the Airport and Airway Trust Fund and on the aviation industry in general.

    o Dramatic increases in aviation fuel prices pose a serious threat to aviation users, especially recreational users and businesses engaged in general aviation. The topic, however, remains poorly understood. GAO’s report is a good first step toward understanding the problem.

    Date: 2010-03-24