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"House Approves Transportation Spending Bill"



Friday, November 30, 2001

House Approves Transportation Spending Bill 
AAAE/ACI-NA


At 10:30 a.m. the House approved the conference report to the Fiscal
Year 2002 (FY02) Department of Transportation (DOT) Appropriations bill
by a vote of 371 to 11.  After reaching an agreement on the
controversial Mexican truck issue earlier in the week, conferees
resolved their remaining differences late last night.  The House action
clears the way for the Senate to consider the final version of the bill,
and we expect the Senate will approve the measure on Monday.  

As we mentioned in the Airport Alert that we sent out last night, the
final version of the transportation spending bill includes virtually
every priority that we identified earlier in the year and pressed
Members of Congress to approve.  The bill includes full funding for
big-ticket items such as $3.3 billion for the Airport Improvement
Program and $2.914 billion for the FAA Facilities and Equipment Account
-- the same amounts that Congress authorized last year in H.R. 1000, the
Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century
(AIR-21). 

Additionally, Congress appropriated funds for programs that will help
airports in small communities.  For instance, the bill includes $20
million for the Small Community Air Service Development Pilot Program
(out of AIP) -- a program designed to improve air service to small
communities that suffer from insufficient air carrier service or
unreasonably high airfares.  The bill also includes an additional $13
million for the Essential Air Service Program (EAS) for a total of $63
million in FY02.  This is especially welcome news since earlier this
year the Administration proposed to tighten the eligibility criteria and
eliminate eighteen communities from the EAS program.  The bill also
contains funding for the FAA's Contract Tower Program, which will allow
approximately 10 additional airports to operate contract towers, and $6
million for the continuation of the contract tower cost-sharing program
as authorized is AIR-21.   

Congress also expressed its concern about the impact that aircraft noise
has had on efforts to expand airport capacity.  In an effort to address
this problem, the bill includes $20 million for aircraft noise research
-- an increase of nearly $13 million above the budget request.  The
report accompanying the final version of the bill also states that
Congress expects the FAA to work with NASA to advance aircraft engine
noise research.  

The Department of Transportation Appropriations bill also includes the
two general provisions that we were pushing Congress to approve.  The
first prohibits the FAA from using funds in the bill to implement its
proposal to require airports to pay for the Agency's use of space in
airport-owned buildings in FY02.  (It is identical to the provisions we
were successful in inserting into last year's appropriations bill.)  The
second will allow airports to fund project-specific FAA staff and/or
consultants for key capacity projects.  (This was a part of our EASE
initiative.)

Again, thanks to all of you who have been so helpful throughout this
year in helping secure these critical appropriations victories.  Below
is a list of AAAE/ACI-NA's Department of Transportation priorities
followed by a run down of what is included in the final version of the
bill.  We have included links to specific sections in the bill for your
review. You may view a complete copy of the bill at:
http://www.house.gov/rules/hr2299cr.pdf.

AAAE/ACI-NA Transportation Appropriations Priorities and Final Results

Priority:  Full Funding of $3.3 billion for the Airport Improvement
Program 
Result: AIP is fully funded at $3.3 billion.  Of those funds, $20
million is made available to fund the Small Community Air Service
Development Pilot Program.  In addition, $57 million is made available
for administration of the FAA's Airports Office. 
Link:        http://www.airportnet.org/depts/federal/legis107/AIP.pdf

Priority:  Full Funding of $2.914 billion for the FAA Facilities and
Equipment Account 
Result:     F&E is fully funded at $2.914 billion. 
Link:      http://www.airportnet.org/depts/federal/legis107/f&e.pdf

Priority:  Airport Funding of Project-Specific Staff or Consultants
(Part of EASE) 
Result:     Includes a General Provision allowing airports to fund
project-specific FAA staff or consultants for key capacity projects. 
Link:      http://www.airportnet.org/depts/federal/legis107/CostFree.pdf

Priority:  FAA Use of Space in Airport-Owned Facilities 
Result:     Includes a General Provision (identical to last year's)
prohibiting the FAA from moving forward on implementing a new policy on
cost-free space through FY02. 
Link:   http://www.airportnet.org/depts/federal/legis107/CostFree.pdf

Priority:  Full Funding of $27.5 million or the Small Community Air
Service Development Pilot Program 
Result:     The bill includes $20 million for the Small Community Air
Service Development Pilot Program to be made available from AIP. 
Link:     http://www.airportnet.org/depts/federal/legis107/AIP.pdf

Priority:  Increase Funding for the Essential Air Service Program 
Result:     The bill includes an additional $13 million for the
Essential Air Service Program for a total of $63 million in FY02, which
will allow the 18 communities targeted by the Bush Administration to
remain in the program. 
Link: http://www.airportnet.org/depts/federal/legis107/EAS.pdf

Priority:  Funding for the Contract Tower Program and $6 million for
Contract Tower Cost-Sharing Program 
Result:     The Contract Tower Program was fully funded, and  $6 million
was included for the Cost-Sharing Program. 
Link:        http://www.airportnet.org/depts/federal/legis107/atc.pdf

Priority:  Fund Aircraft Engine Noise Reduction Technology Research 
Result:     The bill provides $20 million for aircraft noise research,
an increase of nearly $15 million   above the budget estimate.  The
final version of the bill also states that Congress expects the    FAA
to work with NASA to advance aircraft engine noise research.  
Link:   http://www.airportnet.org/depts/federal/legis107/noise.pdf  

Priority:  Funding for Aviation-Related Research and Development 
Result:     The bill includes $195 million for research and development.

Link:      http://www.airportnet.org/depts/federal/legis107/RE&D.pdf

Other Items of Note:

Issue:     FAA Operations

Result:     FAA Operations was funded at $6.88 billion. 
Link:
http://www.airportnet.org/depts/federal/legis107/operations.pdf

Issue:     AIP Earmarks 
Result:     The bill includes approximately $200 million in AIP funding
earmarked for specific projects. That figure is $100 million less
Congress earmarked last year.  
Links:       AIP Projects:
http://www.airportnet.org/depts/federal/legis107/highpriority.pdf

Issue:     Letters of Intent 
Result:     The bill also includes several letters of intent. 
Link:        http://www.airportnet.org/depts/federal/legis107/LOI.pdf

Issue:     Aviation Security 
Result:     In the aftermath of September 11, the Congress included
funds for a number of security-related systems including $97.5 million
for Explosive Detection Systems.  The report also includes language
encouraging the use of biometrics, encoded drivers licenses, fingerprint
identification and other technologies to improve aviation security.  
Link:
http://www.airportnet.org/depts/federal/legis107/security.pdf

   Post your comments in the CAA Legislative Forum
http://www.californiaaviation.org/cgi-bin/dcforum/dcboard.cgi?conf=DCConfID5

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