Congress Puts Off Decision on FAA Funding

On September 23, Congress voted to extend the current FAA funding scheme through the first quarter of next year. The current stopgap FAA funding plan would have expired on Tuesday. Still awaiting President Bush's signature, the bill is seen as a necessary delaying action in the face of much more dire difficulties -- divining and passing legislation to replace the failed $700 billion "rescue" strategy for the country's foundering financial institutions. The extended FAA funding plan does not incorporate new user fees, but it is not certain they would not be reinstituted when the debate is continued next year. Current FAA funding comes primarily from taxes on airline tickets and fuel taxes for general aviation aircraft. The FAA's operating budget for the ensuing six months amounts to approximately the same as had been proposed in longer-term bills -- $7.9 billion.