Congress clears FAA reauthorization bill


After months of negotiations, Congress has passed legislation to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The House of Representatives passed the bill, the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2024 (H.R. 3935), on May 15th with a 387-26 vote. The Senate passed the measure May 9th by an 88-4 vote.

The FAA Reauthorization Act of 2024 is a $105.5 billion package that would reauthorize FAA programs through Fiscal Year (FY) 2028. The legislation includes $66.7 billion for FAA operations, $17.8 billion for facilities and equipment, $19.4 billion for airport infrastructure improvement grants, and $1.6 billion for research, development, and engineering. Proposed compromise text for the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2024 was released by transportation leaders in the House and Senate in the early hours of April 29th. After sifting through a long list of proposed amendments to the compromise bill, the Senate passed the legislation and sent it to the House.

The bipartisan legislation is the result of negotiations that have taken place over the past several months. A series of short-term extensions had kept the FAA funded since September 30. While the House passed their version of the bill, the Securing Growth and Robust Leadership in American Aviation Act (H.R. 3935), last summer, prog­ress was slower in the Senate. The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation approved their version of the bill, the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2023 (S. 1939), in February 2024.

The bill increases Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funding to $4 billion per year beginning in Fiscal Year (FY) 2025, a bump from the level of $3.35 billion per year that has been in place since FY 2012. Protecting airport infrastructure funding by increasing AIP funding levels was one of ASCE’s main recommendations to Congress. ASCE believes the strong support for the AIP program in the bill will help airports meet growing infrastructure needs.

Also included in the bill is a requirement for the FAA to work with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to assess the resiliency of coastal or flood-prone areas, the establishment of a Runway Safety Council, and a research and development effort to assist with modernizing the FAA’s aeronautical information systems.

Congress’ progress over the last several months was largely held up due to issues ASCE did not take a position on. One contentious issue was the number of daily flights at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. The bill allows five additional round-trip flights per day at that airport, which is heavily used by members of Congress.

ASCE has long supported prompt passage of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2024, which offers reliable support for programs that are vital for the safety, growth, and resilience of our system. Throughout the reauthorization process, ASCE expressed support for both the House-led Securing Growth and Robust Leadership in American Aviation Act and the Senate-led FAA Reauthorization Act of 2023. ASCE has gone on the record to support both the House and Senate bills and also expressed support for the final legislation. For more information on the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2024, check out ASCE’s memo.

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