The Federal Aviation Administration is operating under its 16th funding extension (though who can keep track?). But the word from the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is that a real FAA reauthorization is one of the first items on the agenda next year. That means the FAA could actually see a multiyear funding blueprint by sometime next summer.
What will it look like? Here's what we know. The election ousting of this year's chairman, Rep. James Oberstar, D-Minn., means the labor dispute involving FedEx -- the issue that stopped the bill last summer -- is now moot. Beyond that, the tone of the FAA bill might shift with Republicans in control of the House, but the bulk of the bill hasn't been in contention from either party for over a year. There is a small hurdle. The Transportation Committee has shrunk by about 15 seats, and at least half of its members will be new, which means at least some delay as they go to school on aviation issues.
Aviation gurus, here's your chance. What will we see in an FAA reauthorization next year? Where is there the most agreement? Where are the potential pitfalls? How can the aviation community convince lawmakers that it's important to actually rework the law, rather than continue to extend it?