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STEVE CHIOTAKIS: The Senate this week will likely bring up a bill that helps to fund the Federal Aviation Administration — the FAA. Similar bills in the past have been squashed because of political opposition. But Democrats believe they can get an aviation bill through, that’ll create tens of thousands of jobs for airports across the country. Some members of the GOP say the measure is more pork spending.
Seth Kaplan is with Airline Weekly, and he joins us this morning to talk about it. Hi Seth.
SETH KAPLAN: Hi good morning Steve.
CHIOTAKIS: Tell us what’s in this bill.
KAPLAN: Well it’s a $35 billion that basically gives the FAA its marching orders and its funding for the next couple of years.
CHIOTAKIS: Are we talking like, airports — when you say airports — JFK, LAX, O’Hare. Or are you talking like Scranton, or you know Peoria, or Birmingham?
KAPLAN: Yeah, we’re talking a little bit of both. It would greatly increase funding for what’s called “essential air service.” And these are basically subsidies to provide air service to places that otherwise wouldn’t have it. Small places as well as big ones have a lot of stake in this bill.
CHIOTAKIS: And big picture, Seth, what’s on the line here? What happens if it doesn’t pass?
KAPLAN: If it doesn’t pass then they’ll keep doing what they’ve been doing which is passing these temporary measures to keep the FAA in business for another short period of time. But those measures don’t allow it to do the kinds of proactive things that it really needs to do, like modernize the air traffic control system. With all the money we’re talking about spending these days in this country, this is something we could do right now with a system that exists to improve things not only economically, but also environmentally. we’re wasting a lot of fuel right now flying in all kinds of crazy patterns up in the sky. And you’d hope that that would be solved sometime soon.
CHIOTAKIS: Seth Kaplan of Airline Weekly in Fort Lauderdale. Seth, thanks.
KAPLAN: Hey thank you.
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