President Bush has signed a bill extending Federal Aviation Administration programs, including its airport construction grants, through Sept. 30. The measure, enacted June 30, avoids furloughs at the FAA.
The legislation is the latest of several short-term extensions that have kept FAA operating since last fall. Bush signed it the day the previous stopgap was set to lapse. Congress has passed the temporary measures because a multi-year FAA reauthorization has been stalled in the Senate for months.
The new short-term bill provides about $740 million in additional fiscal
2008 contract authority for FAA's Airport Improvement Program grants, which help finance runway and taxiway improvements and other infrastructure projects. AIP aid is particularly important to capital programs at smaller airports, which lack the access to the bond markets that larger airport authorities have.
Highway interests were disappointed that the new FAA extension didn't include additional revenue for the Highway Trust Fund, which would have headed off a projected 2009 deficit in the fund's highway account.