Delayed at the Gate: States Have Been Waiting for Comprehensive Federal Aviation Legislation for Four Long Years

By Rall, Jaime | State Legislatures, September 2011 | Go to article overview

Delayed at the Gate: States Have Been Waiting for Comprehensive Federal Aviation Legislation for Four Long Years


Rall, Jaime, State Legislatures


[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

America is facing a pivotal moment in aviation history.

The nation's economy and citizens have come to rely on a safe and reliable air transportation system. Aviation accounts for more than 5 percent of the total U.S. economy--more than 11 million jobs--and moves millions of people and billions of dollars of goods around the world every year. Forecasts predict even bigger demand in the next decade, with a billion passengers flying on U.S. airlines each year by 2021.

Yet for nearly four years, renewal of the long-term legislation that authorizes and sets federal funding for vital aviation programs has faced one congressional delay after another. A political impasse over key provisions has led to reliance on short extensions of the old law--some for only a few weeks--since it expired in 2007.

The deadlock reached a new level in late July, when the 20th extension of the law expired without a new extension in place. As a result, nearly 4,000 Federal Aviation Administration employees were furloughed in 35 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, and airport projects in all the states were put on hold as federal grant programs were shut down. Commercial airlines also lost their authority to collect the ticket taxes that provide most aviation funding, which will cost the government an estimated $1.2 billion before Congress can revisit the issue after its summer recess.

Even without the recent shutdown, the last four years of congressional inaction have left states trying to manage large-scale, long-term aviation programs with limited, short-term federal funding, a dichotomy that could have serious effects on the air transportation network for years to come.

STALLED IN CONGRESS

The last law that authorized federal airport and aviation programs known as Vision 100: Century of Aviation Reauthorization Act--expired on Sept. 30, 2007.

Among other provisions, it authorized the Airport Improvement Program, the main funding source for planning and improvement projects in airports around the country. It also continued funding for the Essential Air Service program, which subsidizes commercial air service in more than 150 isolated, rural communities that otherwise would have no service.

Congress started work on a new aviation legislation bill in 2007, but before long, it became bogged down in a political quagmire. Neither the 110th nor the 11th Congress could enact a comprehensive law spanning years, relying instead on more and more short-term extensions of Vision 100. The longest stopgap measure lasted six months; the shortest, just one week.

This year, with Republicans in control of the House, Congress once again took up aviation legislation. At first, the new Congress seemed eager to complete the bill. One of its first acts was to pass a two-month extension, accompanied by a statement from House Aviation Subcommittee Chair Tom Petri that it was "the first, and hopefully last, FAA extension of the 112th Congress."

"There is a strong commitment and much--needed momentum to finally complete a long-term FAA bill," he said. "I fully believe we will do so."

But progress stalled over disagreements about a number of issues--funding levels, the Essential Air Service program and organized labor--and differences between the House and Senate versions stymied negotiations. As of the end of July, the House was proposing a four-year bill that would cut funding to 2008 levels and eliminate the Essential Air Service program except in Alaska and Hawaii. The Senate favored a two-year measure that would retain most Essential Air Service subsidies and boost overall funding to the levels in President Obama's 2012 budget.

The legislation also became embroiled in controversies over aviation taxes and fees and union organizing rules for airline and railway employees.

"Aviation is all about stretching the limitations of man," says Senator Jason Wilson of Ohio, one of two registered pilots in the legislature. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Delayed at the Gate: States Have Been Waiting for Comprehensive Federal Aviation Legislation for Four Long Years
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.