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Key Airport Projects Across the Country in Jeopardy Unless Congress Passes an FAA bill

Secretary Ray LaHood explains what is at stake if Congress does not act swiftly to pass an extension bill for the Federal Aviation Administration.

Editor's Note: This blog post is cross-posted from the FastLane, the official blog of the Department of Transportation

Tomorrow night, the FAA reauthorization bill is set to expire.  And without swift action from Congress to pass an extension, the Federal Aviation Administration will be unable to move forward on important airport construction projects and thousands of FAA employees across the country will be immediately furloughed.

Congress needs to do its work.  If they can’t pass a bill,  new construction projects won’t begin.  And construction workers will suffer.  

Congress has already passed twenty short-term extensions to the FAA's reauthorization, putting a burden on our employees and creating enormous uncertainty for states and airports across the country.This is no way to run the best aviation system in the world.

Now, unacceptable provisions in the House of Representative's version of the bill are holding up passage of another extension.

If Congress can't reach an agreement by midnight tomorrow night, the Airport Improvement Program, which provides construction grants to airports, will be shut down and unable to provide roughly $2.5 billion for airport projects in all 50 states. 

Additionally, up to 4,000 FAA employees in 35 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico will be furloughed and forced to go without pay if Congress fails to pass an extension.  While air traffic control would continue, large numbers of employees in New Jersey, New York, California, Georgia, Oklahoma, Texas, Washington, Illinois, and D.C. will be affected. This includes many of FAA’s engineers, scientists, research analysts, administrative assistants, computer specialists, program managers and analysts, environmental protection specialists, and community planners.

We need our employees at work, and states and airports need to be able to work on construction projects.  If Congress cannot resolve its differences, FAA programs and thousands of public and private sector jobs will be in jeopardy.

Congress must pass an extension of the FAA bill now.

Ray LaHood is the Secretary of the Department of Transportation