By Dean Franks, senior vice president, congressional relations, ARTBA

Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.) June 12 told reporters the Senate would not take up a federal aviation program reauthorization before the July 4 holiday recess. The legislation, which authorizes funding for airport construction projects and other aviation related programs, has been delayed for nearly three years with programs currently operating on an extension that expires Sept. 30.

The House in April passed its version of an aviation reauthorization bill and is waiting to conference their legislation with whatever the Senate can pass. Thune said he expects that to happen sometime “this summer.”

ARTBA will continue to push for the final bill to include robust funding for airport construction through the Airport Improvement Program and an increase in the Passenger Facility Charge, a user fee dedicated to airport construction collected from airline passengers.