Aviation Concerns Are Likely to Fly Below Lawmakers' Radar

With worldwide panic over the economic crisis and cautious euphoria over the presidential election, aviation can expect to assume back burner status for the foreseeable future. There are no hot button issues affecting the general public, and that means concerns of pilots and others who are neck-deep in this industry will just have to wait. Among the slow-simmering debates is FAA funding reauthorization-for which a temporary measure has been enacted that will cover the budget at least until the cherry blossoms bloom in Washington, but leaves many questions unanswered. Significant among them is whether or not user fees will be enacted for air traffic control services. A bill including a budget that did not involve the fees came close to passing earlier this year, but nonaviation-related riders torpedoed its passage in Congress. Also on the boiler plate list of aviation issues are updating the ATC system and airport expansion. Speaking at last week's AOPA Expo in San Jose, incoming president Craig Fuller (incoming AOPA president that is-not the other incoming president) said of general aviation, "I doubt we'll even get a mention in [the] inaugural address."