Obama set to sign four-year, $63 billion FAA budget

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The US Senate has passed a four-year, $63 billion Federal Aviation Administration funding bill, sending the House and Senate-approved compromise measure to President Barack Obama. Industry observers expect Obama to sign the bill immediately upon receiving it.

Passage of the FAA Modernisation and Reform Act of 2012 follows 23 contentious short term operating extensions for the agency over the past five years, with issues like user fees and, more recently, airline union elections causing stalemates in Congress.

Included in the House-Senate compromise legislation are key next generation air transportation system (NextGen) acceleration measures the FAA is to implement, including the creation of a Chief NextGen Officer to head up all NextGen activities at the agency.