The U.S. House of Representatives voted Tuesday to provide $15.7 billion to the FAA in fiscal year 2015, representing a slight increase from the current $15.6 billion funding level.
Significantly, the bill prohibits the imposition of aviation user fees and also fees for digital navigational charts, according to officials at the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA).
The bill also directs the FAA to use funding to support the Small Airplane Revitalization Act, which would streamline Part 23 certification of small airplanes.
“This bill includes several GA related provisions and we appreciate the House moving on this important piece of legislation,” said Mark Baker, AOPA president. “We are pleased to see that the bill does not include President Obama’s user fee proposal and that it does include funding to support the Part 23 revisions process, which will help bring down the cost of aircraft and improve safety. We are looking for the House and Senate to come together and send a pro-GA bill to the president.”
Other elements of the bill that directly impact general aviation include:
- $252.2 million for ADS-B implementation, up from $247.2 million in the FAA’s budget request;
- $103.6 million for Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) for GPS;
- $6 million to support development of lead-free aviation gasoline, an increase from the $5.7 million in the president’s request;
- $140 million for the Contract Tower Program, of which $9.4 million is for the contract tower cost share program.
The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee last week approved its own version of the FAA bill, proposing $15.86 billion in FY2015. It is awaiting full Senate approval.
Once both chambers have passed their bills, the measures will be taken up by a conference committee of both House and Senate members. They will hash out the differences in the two bills and then send a final version to the White House for the president’s signature.