H.R. 3800: To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to extend the funding and expenditure authority of the Airport and Airway Trust Fund, to amend title 49, United States Code, to extend authorizations for the airport improvement program, and for other purposes

H.R. 3800

To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to extend the funding and expenditure authority of the Airport and Airway Trust Fund, to amend title 49, United States Code, to extend authorizations for the airport improvement program, and for other purposes

Sponsor
Rep. John Mica

Date
January 24, 2012 (112th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On Tuesday, January 24, 2012, the House is scheduled to consider H.R. 3800, a bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to extend the funding and expenditure authority of the Airport and Airway Trust Fund under a suspension of the rules requiring a two-thirds majority vote for approval.  The bill was introduced by Rep. John Mica (R-FL) on January 23, 2011, and was referred to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Committee as well as the Ways and Means Committee.

Bill Summary

H.R. 3800 would extend, through February 17, 2012, the authorities of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which are currently set to expire on January 31, 2012.  The bill would extend the authority to expend funds from the Airport and Airway Trust Fund through February 17, 2012.  The bill would extend taxes on aviation fuel, domestic and international ticket taxes, and taxes on cargo shipped by air.  H.R. 3800 would extend current aviation taxes and fees, including the 7.5 percent passenger ticket tax, the 6.25 percent cargo tax, the 19.3 cents/gallon general aviation gasoline tax, and the 4.3 cents/gallon commercial jet fuel tax. Currently, authority to levy these taxes is set to expire on January 31, 2012.  

The bill would authorize the appropriation of $1.34 billion for the Airport Improvement Program (AIP) for the period beginning October 1, 2011, and ending February 17, 2012, or nearly the entire first five months of FY 2012. On an annualized basis, the bill would authorize approximately $3.53 billion in AIP contract authority for FY 2012. In addition, the bill would authorize $3.69 billion for FAA operations for the period beginning October 1, 2011, and ending February 17, 2012.

The legislation would also extend the modified funding formula for the Essential Air Services (EAS) which was contained in the last extension (H.R. 2887). The EAS program gives subsidies to air carriers that provide air service to certain rural communities. Specifically, the bill continues to require that a portion of the funding for EAS must be drawn from the Airport and Airway Trust Fund. The bill would authorize $54.7 million from the trust fund for the period beginning October 1, 2011, and ending February 17, 2012.  This would be an increase of $4.4 million from the level authorized from the period beginning October 1, 2011, and ending January 31, 2012.

Background

The FAA is an agency within the Department of Transportation that oversees and regulates the nation’s aviation system.  The Airport and Airway Trust Fund (AATF), created by the Airport and Airway Revenue Act of 1970, provides funding for the nation’s aviation system through several aviation excise taxes.  Funding currently comes from collections related to passenger tickets, air cargo excise taxes, passenger flight segments, and aviation fuels, among other sources. 

The last long-term authorization of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), known as the Vision 100—Century of Aviation Reauthorization Act, was approved in 2003 and expired at the end of FY 2007.  Since that time, the FAA has operated under a series of temporary extensions.  In the 110th and 111th Congresses, the House passed several short-term FAA extensions which were signed into law.  Currently, FAA’s authorization and authority to levy taxes and expend revenue is set to expire on January 31, 2012.  FAA’s authority to collect aviation trust fund revenues and expend money in the trust fund already lapsed for more than two weeks on July 22, 2011, and was not reauthorized until the Senate approved H.R. 2553 on August 5, 2011.

The House approved a long-term FAA extension, H.R. 658, the FAA Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2011, which would reauthorize FAA operations, contract authority and taxing ability through FY 2014.  The long-term FAA reauthorization was approved in the House on April 1, 2011, by a vote of 223 – 196.  The Senate amended the language of H.R. 658 and replaced the text of the bill with a Senate substitute. According to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, this short-term extension would provide time for the House and Senate to conclude negotiations on a long-term FAA reauthorization.

Cost

A CBO cost estimate for H.R. 3800 was not available as of press time.