House lawmakers began debating a multi-year FAA reauthorization bill and considered a long list of amendments on Thursday. Representatives will vote on the remaining amendments and final passage on Friday. The bill, which has bipartisan support from House Transportation Committee leadership, is expected to pass.
On Thursday, Transportation Committee Ranking Member Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) lamented that the five-year FAA bill (H.R. 4) doesn't adjust the federal cap on local Passenger Facility Charges. He pointed out that many airports are "bonded out" and are hampered by a combination of congestion and unfunded federal mandates.
Ranking Member DeFazio and Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) filed an amendment that would have eliminated the PFC cap. Unfortunately, the House Rules Committee didn't allow the amendment to receive an up-or-down vote on the House floor.
Among the amendments adopted during Thursday's session was a manager's amendment from Chairman Bill Shuster's (R-Pa.) that authorizes - but does not appropriate - more than $1 billion annually in general fund revenues for grants to airports smaller than large hubs. Shuster's amendment would also make certain counter-unmanned aircraft systems AIP-eligible and change the Airport Privatization Pilot Program into a new "Airport Investment Partnership Program."