House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster, R-Pa., dropped his proposal to take air traffic control out of the hands of the Federal Aviation Administration and put it under a nonprofit corporation, clearing the runway for Congress to act on a long-term FAA reauthorization bill.
In a Feb. 27 statement, Shuster said that "many, including myself, continue to believe that the air traffic control provisions of the 21st Century AIRR Act are good government reforms, and necessary for the future efficiency, effectiveness and safety of our entire nation's aviation system and its users."
But he said that while "we built strong support for this critical reform over the last two congresses . . . some of my own colleagues refused to support shrinking the federal government by 35,000 employees, cutting taxes, and stopping wasteful spending."
The current FAA authority expires March 31, and Shuster said he would work with Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune, R-S.D., to move a long-term bill through Congress.
"Although our air traffic control reform provisions did not reach the obvious level of support needed to pass Congress," he added, "I intend to work with Senator Thune and move forward with a reauthorization bill to provide long-term stability for the FAA."
Politico said that with Shuster dropping his ATC privatization plan, the major remaining question is how long to reauthorize the FAA.
The two chambers are expected to pass a temporary extension to keep the agency running past March 31, while working on a long-term reauthorization. Shuster told state officials Feb. 28, at the Washington Briefing of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials that he wants to get a final bill through Congress before its August recess.
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