U.S. Representative Frank A. LoBiondo, the only New Jersey Representative on the House Aviation Subcommittee, today reached out to both Republican and Democrat leaders of the respective House and Senate committees to find a common ground that would provide for a short-term extension of the FAA Authorization Act and ensure 4,000 furloughed FAA employees nationwide, including nearly 650 in South Jersey, can return to work. LoBiondo is also concerned about the long-term implications on critical aviation construction projects and work on the NEXTGEN project affected by the shutdown.
On Wednesday, July 20, the House passed an extension (H.R. 2553) of the FAA’s programs and operations which maintains current funding levels until September 16, 2011. However, the Senate failed to approve the extension, thus resulting in the partial shutdown of the FAA at midnight on Friday, July 22. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) objected to a provision included on the House-passed extension that would reform the Essential Air Service (EAS), which provides taxpayer-funded subsides for rural airports including one in Ely, Nevada. No airports in New Jersey receive the taxpayer subsidy.