The omnibus spending package signed into law by President Trump on March 23 included short-term extensions of both the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which were both set to expire in March. Authorization for NFIP has been extended through July 31, 2018, while the FAA was extended through September 30, 2018. NFIP provides flood insurance coverage to homes and businesses in more than 90 percent of counties throughout the country. Counties also play a critical role in the nation’s air transportation system, owning 34 percent of the nation’s publicly-owned airports and spending $5.14 billion annually on air transportation. The short-term extensions for both programs give Congress time to reach a bipartisan, long-term solution.
The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) was created under the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 to provide insurance coverage to property owners for damages and losses due to catastrophic flooding. The program aims to reduce the impact of flooding on private and public structures by providing affordable insurance and encouraging communities to adopt and enforce floodplain management regulations. NFIP was last reauthorized in 2012 through the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012, extending the program through September 30, 2017. Since then, the program has continued to operate under a series of short-term extensions. In the March omnibus, NFIP received another short-term extension through July 31.
Congress passed the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 in February 2012, which included a four-year reauthorization of FAA through FY 2015. The bill was the first long-term authorization of federal civil aviation programs since 2007 and was finally enacted after 23 short-term extensions. The program is again operating on a short-term basis, and the recently-passed appropriations bill included a six-month extension of the FAA, ensuring funding through September 30, 2018. This allowance provides continued funding for all air traffic control personnel, including over 14,000 air traffic controllers, 7,000 safety inspectors and operational support personnel.
To prevent the expiration of both NFIP and FAA, Congress must enact long-term solutions to each program through legislation. NACo will continue working with lawmakers to ensure county priorities are maintained and the needs of counties and their residents are reflected in final reauthorization bills.