FAA gets $15.4b in Obama's FY2015 budget plan

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US President Barack Obama's proposed budget for fiscal year 2015 will allocate $15.4 billion to the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

This is $350 million less than the enacted funding level for fiscal year 2014, which ends on 30 September.

The FAA funding is part of the $90.9 billion that Obama's budget proposal allocates to the Department of Transportation.

About $1 billion in funding is provided for the NextGen system, comprising $836 million through a base request and an additional $186 million through what is dubbed Obama's Opportunity, Growth, and Security Initiative, which allows for $56 billion of new government spending.

The fiscal year 2015 budget request proposes reduced funding for the FAA's airport grants programme to $2.9 billion, by eliminating guaranteed funding for large hub airports and focusing funding on smaller airports that have no access to outside sources of revenue. This is down $450 million from the fiscal year 2014 enacted level.

Obama's budget proposal also calls for an increase of the federal cap on airport passenger facility charges (PFC) to $8 from the existing $4.50 level.

The American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) is calling for Congress to raise this further to $8.50. "The $8.50 level would make up for the loss of purchasing power that airports have experienced since the last adjustment in the PFC by Congress in 2000," says the association.

AAAE's president and chief executive Todd Hauptil says: "Local airport authorities remain hamstrung by a federal cap on local airport user fees that was last adjusted more than 14 years ago and that remains woefully inadequate to meet the very real and growing needs that exist at airports across the country."