WASHINGHTON, D.C. — Now is the time to begin laying the groundwork for reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration, Congressman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) said during a speech before the International Aviation Club Dec. 11. Although reauthorization isn’t due until September 2015, the aviation system must evolve and modernize, he said, and there are many questions to be asked and answered to achieve a true path to the future.
Aviation is a critical segment of the economy in the United States, Shuster pointed out, noting it is responsible for more than a trillion dollars in economic activity every year — more than 5% of the GDP. To keep this vital service, federal laws that provide for the nation’s aviation infrastructure must be modernized.
He said the U.S. should not settle for another ordinary reauthorization or just making adjustments, but must take actions that will keep the aviation system growing and competitive in the world system. This is important for all segments of aviation, he said.
Much can be learned from other nations, he noted. For example, “What can we learn Canada’s privately owned and operated air navigation service? Or, is there something that we can learn from Germany and other Western countries that have commercialized their air traffic control systems? The United Kingdom has a public-private partnership air navigation system.”
“We can’t afford to just stay the status quo simply because that’s the way it has been done until now,” he said.
The government and the administration treat aviation like piggy banks, he said, citing 17 different federal fees and taxes. Now the administration continues to propose an additional $100 tax on some aviation operations.
Shuster said these were just a few of the topics to be examined for the future reauthorization of the FAA, adding he wants participation from the aviation community in planning.
“I don’t want the next aviation reauthorization to be my vision or Congress’ vision,” he said. “I need and Congress needs all of you to participate in this process to create a collective vision for the future of the aviation system.”
An initiative is needed that makes sense for the various segments of the aviation community — commercial aviation, general aviation, airports, manufacturers, labor, rural and small communities.
“We need a bold vision that can benefit all, because this is about our country’s future,” he concluded.
For more information: Shuster.House.gov