American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) President and CEO Todd Hauptli has released a statement praising the fiscal year 2014 omnibus spending bill that will be considered by Congress this week. He said the bill, which would fund Congress through September 30th, would keep airports running smoothly and efficiently.
“The omnibus spending bill that Congress is poised to approve this week will provide much-needed stability to our nation’s aviation system by ensuring grants to airports for critical safety and capacity improvements are maintained, important air traffic facilities remain open, and international visitors to U.S. gateway airports are processed in a more timely manner,” Hauptli stated. “The funding situation for key agencies and programs of critical importance to the traveling public stands in marked contrast from one short year ago when indiscriminate cuts caused by sequestration threatened to close critical air traffic control facilities, furlough controllers, and reduce federal funding to airports supported by aviation system users.”
“We appreciate the excellent work of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees led by Chairs Hal Rogers and Barbara Mikulski to produce a work product that puts airports and the aviation system on a path forward rather than backwards,” Hauptli added. “It is our hope that this legislation can serve as a foundation for providing the additional investments in infrastructure that airports and our aviation system need to meet the significant challenges before us and gaining the federal staffing that is needed to prevent airports from becoming choke points for passengers and goods.”
Among other things, the omnibus spending measure provides full funding at $3.35 billion for the Airport Improvement Program, ensures dedicated funding for the Contract Tower Program, and increases funding for Customs and Border Protection staffing with an emphasis on limiting wait times at U.S. gateway airports. The bill also includes funding for the Transportation Security Administration to continue staffing exit lanes at airports — an important function that Congress permanently assigned to the agency as part of the recently enacted bipartisan budget agreement.
Founded in 1928, AAAE, based in Alexandria, VA, is the world’s largest professional organization representing the men and women who work at public-use commercial and general aviation airports. AAAE’s 5,000-plus members represent some 850 airports and hundreds of companies and organizations that support the airport industry. AAAE serves its membership through results-oriented representation in Washington, D.C., and delivers a wide range of industry services and professional development opportunities, including training, conferences, and an accreditation program.