WASHINGTON, D.C. — The FAA stays in business with another three-month authorization extension after the Senate passed the bill during its weekend session. The House had passed the extension Dec. 2. This is the 17th extension for the FAA, a record number for any government agency. The agency has not had full reauthorization since 2007.
This newest extension means full-term reauthorization will be taken up by the new Congress in 2011. With Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) taking over as chair of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in the House and additional Republican members in the Senate, the measures in the reauthorization bill are expected to change from the those that have held up the agreements between the two houses of Congress. User fees could again raise their ugly head. Funding and closer Congressional scrutiny of NextGen expenses and development are expected to get added attention.
Because of these and other differences, some observers here believe full reauthorization before the current extension expires is unlikely and it will be summer before the FAA is back on a long-term schedule.