Deadline looms for FAA funding, surface transportation measure

The countdown has begun to the Jan. 31 deadline when the current authorization for the Federal Aviation Administration expires. At the last check, lawmakers were no closer to a resolution on their disagreements than they were in September. The contentious dispute about how rail and aviation workers vote for unions has been kicked up to House and Senate leaders, who continue to be distracted by other issues.

Shortly before the holidays, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica, R-Fla., visibly winced when asked whether he was preparing another temporary extension for the FAA, saying only that House members "won't like it" if they have to push off the long-overdue measure yet again.

Then there is the surface transportation authorization, set to expire on March 31. Granted, Congress has a little more time to hammer out the details of that bill, which has the added political benefit of being a genuine job creator. Still there are problems. Text of the House bill has yet to materialize, and House leaders' plan to include new domestic oil drilling likely will not cover the full cost of maintaining the nation's roads and bridges. The drilling provision, opposed by most Democrats, will be a political distraction at the very least.

It is not hard to imagine the drilling/highway debate mushrooming into a bitter shouting match just as the spring car-travel season approaches with its perennial increase in gas prices. The scenario doesn't bode well for hard-core compromises on transportation funding formulas.

Nobody wants more temporary extensions, but the congressional environment makes it difficult to envision a different outcome before the election. At National Journal's expert blog on transportation, various experts will be weighing on key questions related to the legislative battle: What will happen if there are more extensions of the aviation and surface transportation authorizations? Are there benefits, even small ones, to putting off the tough decisions until lawmakers are in a better mood? Would it make sense to punt and extend both authorizations until 2013? Or should Congress force the discussion by enacting shorter-term stopgaps? Will there be genuine political consequences (like members' seats at risk) if Congress fails to complete the transportation measures?

Click here to view the discussion

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.