August 3, 2011
While there are no GA user fees in the debt ceiling legislation approved by Congress and signed by President Obama this week, lawmakers departed for their August recess and left FAA in a bind without a continuing resolution to collect revenue and fund parts of the agency
That means 4,000 FAA employees will remain on furlough until September and certain FAA programs and projects, such as in airport improvement, research, and engineering, will remain dormant. FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt remarked at EAA AirVenture last week that the lack of a continuing resolution means 70,000 people working on airport construction and improvement projects will also be idled
“While we’re pleased there are no GA user fees in the debt ceiling measure, we’re not so na•ve to believe that the idea may not re-emerge in the coming months as the Congressional ‘supercommittee’ considers other deficit reduction measures,” said Doug Macnair, EAA’s vice president of government relations. “The lack of a continuing resolution for FAA, however, is an immediate short-term dilemma because it has caused the agency’s furloughs and affected the jobs of 70,000 people on airport projects nationwide. We at EAA feel for the furloughed FAA employees and other workers impacted by this impasse on Capitol Hill, and will work to convince Congress to pass a continuing resolution as quickly as possible.
Without a continuing resolution, GA fuel taxes and airline passenger ticket taxes also cannot be collected at the previously authorized levels. That will deprive the Airport and Airway Trust Fund of at least $1.2 billion in revenue before Congress returns in September from its summer recess. While no formal action on FAA’s continuing resolution or proposals such as GA user fees can take place during the Congressional recess, EAA will remain vigilant for signs of informal discussions taking place by lawmakers on these and other key issues for aviators.