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Congressional spat threatens funds for FAA

John Dimsdale Jul 21, 2011
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STEVECHIOTAKIS: The debt ceiling isn’t the only example of the clock ticking down to government gridlock.

Marketplace’s John Dimsdale reports from Washington that a partisan fight in Congress could shut down parts of the Federal Aviation Administration by this weekend.


JOHN DIMSDALE: Funding for the FAA runs out Saturday. Air traffic controllers are considered essential employees so they won’t be furloughed. But 4,000 other workers will be. And without Congressional approval, the government can no longer collect ticket fees and fuel taxes. Those bring in two-thirds of the money the FAA runs on.

DAN ELWELL: Allowing the FAA to have a partial shutdown is not the way to make any sort of fiscal fixes.

Dan Elwell with the Aerospace Industries Association, says if the FAA can’t collect taxes and fees …

ELWELL: .. all of its funding would have to come from general taxpayer revenues and I would think in this fiscal environment the idea of funding an agency out of the General Fund wouldn’t last too long.

The hangup is a dispute over subsidies for rural airports in sparsely populated states like Montana and West Virginia. House Republicans want to cut $16 million that keep the small airports open. That’s just a fraction of the FAA’s $15 billion overall budget.

In Washington, I’m John Dimsdale for Marketplace.

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