FAA Furlough Begins and Ends
Legislation authorizing the Federal Aviation Administration and its programs ended on September 30, 2007. Since that date, FAA has been funded by a series of continuing resolutions, the latest, the 20th extension expired on July 22, 2011. Attempts by Congress to enact a 21st extension failed due to a disagreement between the House and the Senate over changes in a program named “Essential Air Service”, a subsidy of passenger service in small airline markets. As a result, 4000 FAA employees were furloughed on July 23rd and construction activities ceased for many airport projects nationwide. Additionally, airline tax revenue collections ended resulting in a loss in tax revenue of $30M per day. Fortunately, an agreement was finally reached to extend FAA programs through September 16th. During the two week furlough period $380M in tax revenue was lost to the Aviation Trust fund. The good news is that there was no direct impact on TxDOT Aviation’s construction projects since grants for those projects had already been made. If the failure to pass a new reauthorization bill or continuing resolution had continued through September 30th, TxDOT Aviation stood to lose $14M in FAA grant money for the year. Fortunately, that did not happen. Congress is currently in recess but will reconvene on September 6th. That will leave only 11 days to pass new FAA legislation. Otherwise, a 22nd extension will be necessary. Hopefully, by the time you read this, Congress will have made significant process in passing a multi-year funding bill for FAA.
Welcome to John White, the newest member of the Texas Aviation Advisory Committee
On June 30th, The Texas Transportation Commission appointed John White, Valero Energy’s Director of Corporate Aviation, as a member of the Texas Aviation Advisory Committee. Members of the Committee provide a valuable service to TxDOT serving as an advocate and statewide point of contact for the Department’s aviation program. Additional information about John and his aviation background are included in the center spread of our newsletter.