Senate Clears $17.7B Fiscal Year 2019 FAA Budget
The Federal Aviation Administration’s fiscal year 2019 budget took a step forward recently with the U.S. Senate passage of a “minibus” appropriations package, H.R.6147, by a 92-6 vote. It combines four appropriations bills, including the transportation, housing, and urban development package that would provide $17.7 billion in budgetary resources for the FAA in fiscal year 2019, mirroring funding set aside for the agency in the House proposal.
Several provisions of the FAA portion are of interest to the business and general aviation communities, such as possible reimbursements for certain airports and aviation businesses affected by presidential temporary flight restrictions, as well as a directive for the FAA to use existing resources to fund its support of major aviation events. The bill further provides $1 billion for Next-Gen programs, $168 million for contract towers, and a $750 million set-aside for airport improvements.
The National Air Transportation Association praised the bill’s passage, pointing to provisions the association supported, including language seeking to improve Part 135 incident reporting data, support for alternative fuels research, and a push for the FAA to follow through on recommendations of the FAA’s Regulatory Consistency Aviation Rulemaking Committee.
The bill must still be hashed out with the House, which has not yet acted on its version of the transportation appropriations bill. Congress has until September 30 to pass the FY19 budget or an extension of the current budget.