WASHINGTON. D.C. — A House committee held its first hearing Tuesday afternoon about FAA reauthorization, with several members wanting to roll back funding to 2008 levels while others and Senate leaders want full financing to speed the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen).
Both Senate and House Aviation Committee members say reauthorization of FAA is top priority but differences indicate quick passage will have to get strong differences settled between sides of Capitol Hill.
In his testimony, FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt said a roll back would cost the agency about $1 million and slow all advancements in airport development. He added airport improvements have been slowed by 17 short extensions of reauthorization. When asked about general aviation airports, Babbitt said general aviation serves thousands of flights every day and NextGen will provide approaches with only one design of airspace.
Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.), chairman of the full Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said the committee “is developing a lean, streamlined long-term bill that does more with less.” His goal, he said, is to have a bill on the President’s desk before the current short-term extension expires March 31.
A second hearing by the subcommittee will be held Wednesday when industry leaders are scheduled to appear.