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Flight-100 FAA Authorization Proposal charts new century of safer, more efficient aviation

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta submitted to the Congress the Bush Administration`s four-year aviation reauthorisation proposal…

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta submitted to the Congress the Bush Administration`s four-year aviation reauthorisation proposal. The Centennial of Flight Aviation Authorization Act (Flight-100) provides a substantial investment in safety research, air traffic control modernization, airport infrastructure improvements and environmental initiatives.



Flight-100 will help increase capacity and efficiency throughout our aviation system while improving the existing environmental review process, Secretary Mineta said. The Bush Administration looks forward to working closely with the Congress on timely passage of this bill as we continue to improve the safest aviation system in the world.



Flight-100 will further ensure the highest possible levels of safety throughout the aviation system by continuing to fund important infrastructure improvements and improving the FAA`s research and development program. The proposal provides $2.9 billion in FY 2004 for FAA facilities and equipment, rising to $3.1 billion by 2007. To improve efficiency, the agency would receive $7.5 billion in FY 2004 for operations and maintenance, a 7 percent increase over the FY 2003 budget request. These funds support implementation of the FAA`s Operational Evolution Plan, the acceleration of airspace redesign and future air traffic controller staffing needs.



The proposal includes $100 million for safety research, engineering and development in FY 2004. Flight-100 also improves safety oversight of operators, repair stations and others, while tightening enforcement of the FAA`s stringent safety and maintenance regulations.



In this centennial year of flight, the Administration`s authorization proposal delivers a blueprint to prepare for the needs of aviation`s future, said FAA Administrator Marion C. Blakey. We must continue to set the highest standard for safe, efficient air travel through the industry`s inevitable recovery and change.



In addressing future industry capacity and efficiency requirements, Flight-100 calls for an Airport Improvement Program (AIP) investment of $3.4 billion each year over the entire term of the reauthorization. If enacted, the reauthorization would restructure AIP formulas and set-asides to allow more funds to be targeted to airports with the greatest need and dependence on federal assistance. Such restructuring would transfer more than $87 million in FY 2004 funds from large to small airports, thereby raising small airports` share from approximately 63 percent to over 66 percent of total AIP grants. The

proposal also increases the amount of discretionary funding from 34 percent to 46 percent of the AIP program, allowing FAA to target those projects that serve national objectives and achieve the greatest system benefits regardless of airport size.



The Administration`s proposal builds on President Bush`s executive order to streamline environmental review processes by proposing a number of noise and air quality initiatives to reduce the most significant aviation environmental impacts. For example, the proposal makes more flexible use of the AIP noise set-asides to accelerate research designed to reduce aircraft noise and emissions. The authorization proposal also funds noise mitigation efforts to lessen the impacts of airport expansion and funds grants to state and local governments to make land uses adjacent to large and medium-sized airports more compatible with airport operations. In addition, Flight-100 allows the FAA to designate aviation safety projects for expedited streamlined environmental review.



Finally, Flight-100 would implement major revisions to the Essential Air Service (EAS) Program creating an Essential Transportation Service (ETS) Program that will provide more efficient management and better tailor the service to the needs of specific communities. With the proposed reforms, the department would be able to ensure that the small communities that need it the most, maintain access to the national air transportation system. To encourage community participation and support of its subsidized service, the proposal requires communities to contribute either 10 or 25 percent of the total subsidy required depending on their degree of isolation.

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