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Camp Opening Statement: Markup of H.R. 1034: “Airport and Airway Trust Fund Financing Reauthorization Act of 2011”

March 16, 2011

The Committee will now consider H.R. 1034, the “Airport and Airway Trust Fund Financing Reauthorization Act of 2011.”  This bill provides a clean extension of the Airport and Airway Trust Fund authority and of the associated excise taxes at their current rates, through September 30, 2014.

We all can agree that funding operations and improvements to the nation’s airports and air infrastructure is vitally important to creating and sustaining economic growth and promoting commerce.  As such, I believe that this is an issue that can and should be addressed in a bipartisan manner.

Communities depend on access to air travel as a way to ensure that they can attract business development and job creation.  In my home state of Michigan, where unemployment remains well above the national unemployment rate –– having a multi-faceted and reliable transportation system can provide a strong foundation for attracting business development. 

However, we must approach such development in a fiscally responsible way, and I am pleased because H.R. 1034 accomplishes that goal. 

With respect to that fiscally responsible approach, I want to recognize the efforts of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.  The work they have done to streamline programs and set priorities on the spending side have resulted in a bill that reduces spending as compared to current FAA spending trends.  

In light of the spending control achieved by the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, the Airport and Airway Trust Fund does not require any additional revenue.  For that reason, the bill before the Committee will simply reauthorize the excise taxes that support the Trust Fund at their current levels, along with reauthorizing the Trust Fund’s expenditure authority.   It does not include an increase in any fuel taxes as was carried in some prior bills.