By Martin Vaughan
February 8, 2011
WASHINGTON -(Dow Jones)- The U.S. Senate Finance Committee approved a bill to renew $11 billion in annual funding for U.S. aviation infrastructure.
The committee vote, by unanimous voice vote, moves the Senate closer to passing the two-year aviation funding legislation possibly later this month.
The bill would fund the Federal Aviation Administration, set the framework for long-delayed plans to install a satellite-based air-traffic control system, and finance airport construction.
Those activities have long been funded by taxes and fees, including the jet-fuel tax and passenger fees, and the Senate bill would extend and modify some of those taxes.
Democrats say the bill would create jobs, improve air-travel efficiency and reduce flight delays.
“As we work to modernize our airways, the fund’s reauthorization is long overdue,” Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D., Mont.) said. The aviation trust fund lapsed in 2007 and has been kept going through a series of short-term extensions since then.
The bill increases the tax on jet fuel for general aviation to 35.9 cents per gallon, from the current level of 21.8 cents per gallon.
The committee approved an amendment from Sen. Maria Cantwell (D., Wash.), to allow the use of tax-exempt bonds to finance certain fixed-wing emergency medical aircraft.
Source: GLOBAL FINANCE