UPDATED: FAA authorization signed into law

Airplane

Key Takeaways

UPDATE: On May 16, President Biden signed the Securing Growth and Robust Leadership in American Aviation Act (P.L 118-63) into law. This legislation authorizes the FAA through Fiscal Year (FY) 2028.

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On December 19, the U.S. Senate passed the bipartisan Airport and Airway Extension Act of 2023 Part II (H.R. 6503), following the legislation’s passage in the U.S. House of Representatives a week prior. This extension will allow the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to continue operations at current funding levels through March 8, 2024. 

This is the FAA’s second extension this year. Following the expiration of a six-year funding law on September 30, 2023, lawmakers originally extended the administration’s authorization to December 31, 2023, with hopes that a new, long-term bill could be enacted by the end of the year.  

The extension will now give lawmakers more time to work towards a long-term reauthorization. However, the House and Senate are in different places regarding the larger legislative package. While the full House has passed the Securing Growth and Robust Leadership in American Aviation Act (H.R. 3935), the Senate bill, the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2023 (S. 1939), has passed out of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation but the full Senate has yet to consider it.

Once the full Senate passes a bill, Congress will work out the differences between the two versions in a conference committee or behind the scenes over the months to come to produce a unified bill that can pass both chambers and be signed by the president before the March 2024 expiration.  

How does FAA reauthorization affect counties?

Counties directly support over one third of our nation’s airports. A lapse in the FAA’s authorization would mean a pause in the flow of federal funding to counties for airport maintenance and improvements and have other serious consequences, including the furloughing of air traffic controllers.

NACo supports a long-term FAA reauthorization to give counties the financial certainty they need to continue to operate, improve and plan for future development. Both the House and Senate versions of the FAA bill address county priorities. 

View a funding table comparing major program and accounts in the U.S. House and Senate bills and read an analysis of the House's legislation here.

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