Rep. DeFazio bill will keep FAA open during future government closures

Paul Smith Washington News

Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.-4th) introduced a bill on Friday that will prevent the closure of the FAA during future government shutdowns. The Aviation Funding Stability Act of 2019 would allow the FAA to draw operating monies from the Airports and Airways Trust Fund (AATF), should politicians close the government during future funding debates.

DeFazio is chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and the bill is cosponsored by Rep. Rick Larsen (D-Wash.-2nd), chairman of the Subcommittee on Aviation. According to a statement released by DeFazio and Larsen, the AATF brings in sufficient income from passenger, fuel, and cargo taxes to fund the FAA through the closures.

“Words cannot express our relief that no significant aviation-related accident or event occurred during the recent partial government shutdown,” says Matt Zuccaro, president and CEO of HAI. “However, while the system remained safe, the inability to obtain needed permits and authorizations from the FAA caused financial harm to the helicopter industry and its operators. Vital preparations for the upcoming fire season were also delayed as the FAA could not issue needed certifications.

“Helicopters fly missions that benefit the public good. When our ability to function is hampered, the negative impacts cascade down to affect the general public,” says Zuccaro.

“The FAA provides vital services to the aviation industry and the nation. Most importantly, they make the skies safer for all who use our national airspace. We are grateful to Reps. DeFazio and Larsen for recognizing the safety issue caused by not providing the FAA with stable funding and working to address it quickly."

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