Mar 2013 - Since Senate and House fail to cloture funding for Next Gen major wishlist projects with the FAA are shelved. Cuts to FAA funding due to politcal wrangling however target critical services rather than special interest projects like regional airspace redesigns.
Feb 2011- The Senate and the House pass a four year 63 billion dollar funding package for the FAA. This Bill is before the President.
The FAA is currently operating without a congressionally confirmed director. The previous director was arrested and resigned in Dec 2011 half way through his 5 year term. Deputy FAA Administrator Michael Huerta has taken the position and is expected to remain until elections and confirmation of a new director after presidential elections.
Mr. Huerta was previously in charge of the Next Gen Project which is many years behind shedule and tens of millions over budget.
Our Airspace requests a presidential veto of this bill to safeguard taxpayer investment and environmental policy.
This Bill contains several provisions which effectively water down environmental protection policy. These kind of policy changes are constitutionally illegal to include in funding packages according to legal experts.
Provisions such as these deserve rigorous debate before final passage:
- Domestic Airspace Redesign to include unmanned Aerial drones. A civil rights debate has not adequately addressed the ramifications of including unmanned drones domestically by 2015
- Environmental Fasttracking as institutionalized policy is not economically, nor environmentally sustainable.
- Reimbursements to domestic and international airlines for fuel costs
- Sweetheart provisions for specific airports within mainland USA.
In July 2011 FAA suffered a partial shutdown as temporary funding measures expired and congress could not reach cloture on longterm funding bill. A shortterm funding measure was passed in August which expires in September 16, 2011.On Feb 17 2011, the Senate passed a 2 year FAA funding bill S. 223 ( FAA Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act) which includes some helpful safety and environmental provisions along with funding of next Gen and Airspace Redesign.
On April 1 2011 the House passed a 4 year FAA funding bill- H.R. 658 ( FAA Reauthorization Act) which also funds Next Gen projects including the Airspace Redesign.