Committee Approves FAA Reauthorization Bill

May 1, 2003

Washington, DC -- The Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation today approved by voice vote S. 824, the Aviation Investment and Revitalization Vision Act (AIR-V). Senators McCain (R-AZ), Lott (R-AZ), Hollings (D-SC) and Rockefeller (D-WV) introduced the bill on April 8, 2003. The legislation would reauthorize appropriations for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for fiscal years 2004 through 2006. The bill also would provide $10.5 billion for the Airport Improvement Program (AIP) to improve capacity and safety at the nation’s airports; authorize $8.9 billion to upgrade the FAA’s air traffic control system; establish a funding mechanism to pay for security capitol costs at airports; and streamline the process for approving and constructing airport capacity projects. The Full Committee held a hearing on AIR-V on April 10, 2003. The Committee adopted the following amendments to S. 824:

· An amendment by Senators McCain, Hollings, Lott, and Rockefeller to add many of the research provisions passed by the Senate last year in the aviation research and development bill; authorize the contract tower program for FY 2004 through 2006; require the FAA to regularly report to Congress on its major modernization projects; and authorize new EAS pilot programs to increase ridership and reduce costs associated with the program.

· Two amendments by Senator Stevens (R-AL): to increase the percentage of funds granted as cargo entitlements; and to add consideration of cargo activities as criteria for appropriation funds.

· Two amendments by Senator Snowe (R-MN): to establish the position of National Small Community Air Service Development Ombudsman; and establish a National Commission on Small Community Air Service.

· An amendment by Senators Brownback (R-KN) and Cantwell (D-WA) to provide terrorism insurance for certain aircraft manufacturers.

· An amendment by Senators Smith (R-OR) and Wyden (D-OR) to authorize a program for ground-based precision navigational aids for terrain-challenged airports.

· An amendment by Senators Ensign (R-NV) and Cantwell (D-WA) to increase the number of certain slots at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, and for other purposes.

· An amendment by Senator Breaux (D-LA) to allow the Secretary of Transportation to develop a program to expand and improve the safety, efficiency, and security of air traffic control and aviation-related navigation, low altitude communications, surveillance, and weather services in the Gulf of Mexico.

· An amendment by Senator Dorgan (D-ND) to authorize the FAA to fund the Air Traffic Control Collegiate Training Initiative.

· An amendment by Senator Wyden (D-OR) to require the FAA to submit a plan of action to the Congress for addressing identified problems with the Air Transportation Oversight System. · An amendment by Senator Boxer (D-CA) to improve cabin crewmember training requirements and require the certification of cabin crewmembers, and for other purposes.

· An amendment by Senator Cantwell (D-WA) to increase energy efficiency and cost-effectiveness, and encourage the use of fuel cell technology, in meeting the Federal Aviation Administration’s standby power needs.

The Committee also approved S. 886, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Corps Confirmation Correction Legislation, S. 929, the Max Cleland Over-the-Road Bus Security and Safety Act of 2003, and a nomination for promotion in the United States Coast Guard.