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August 4, 1998

H.R. 4057 - Airport Improvement Program Reauthorization
Act of 1998

(Shuster (R) Pennsylvania and Duncan (R) Tennessee)

The Administration has no objection to House passage of H.R. 4057, which authorizes funding for programs of the Federal Aviation Administration for FY 1999. The Administration would have preferred a more comprehensive four-year proposal for FAA reauthorization which included a Passenger Facility Charge (PFC) increase and financial reforms. The Administration, however, appreciates that the bill includes a number of its proposals and is generally consistent with the President's budget request. The Administration will nevertheless seek amendments in the Senate to:
  • Delete the requirement to establish a new program to subsidize up to 20 air traffic control "contract towers" that otherwise would not qualify for FAA funding. The Administration strongly supports the existing contract tower program, but opposes this new program because it would divert scarce Federal aviation dollars to non-cost-beneficial activities.

  • Delete the special interest projects that compete with important program goals.

  • Delete the proposed expansion of projects eligible to use revenues from Passenger Facility Charges (PFCs). Any changes in current project eligibility requirements should await completion of ongoing studies on the impact of PFCs on airline competition.

  • Delete a provision that would delay enforcement of necessary safety standards for certain pilots.

  • Revise Title VII so that the existence within the Government and the membership on the Centennial of Flight Commission is consistent with Federal criminal conflict of interest laws.

  • Clarify FAA's authority to collect overflight fees.

  • Expand innovative financing options available to States by authorizing them to use block grant funding to establish revolving loan funds.

  • Eliminate the language, from the requirement for a rulemaking related to the use of Flight Operations Quality Assurance Program data in civil enforcement actions, that appears to suggest what the outcome of the rulemaking should be.