September 2001

GREETINGS! Here are some National Legislation Issues. Congress returned this week to an uncertain fiscal atmosphere due to a shrinking budget surplus. On its agenda are 13 spending bills, including one that funds the FAA, which the House, Senate, and President must approve before September 30th, the end of the current fiscal year. The Senate approved the transportation appropriations bill, which included a number of AOPA recommendations that would benefit General Aviation, on August 1st.

The final bill will be developed in a House-Senate conference early this month. A controversy in the Transportation bill surrounding a Safety Issue involving Mexican trucks may prevent the entire funding bill from being passed. If this happens, there is a threat that the Transportation Appropriations Bill will be grouped with the other spending bills into a last-minute "omnibus appropriations bill" which could leave the AIR-21 funding levels vulnerable to a last minute budget "deal." AOPA and MPA will closely monitor the development of the FAA's funding bill for next year to ensure that the AIR-21 agreement continues to be fully implemented. For more information see:

The U.S. House Aviation Subcommittee Chairman today released a letter to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administrator Garvey criticizing FAA for further delaying deployment of badly needed runway incursion prevention systems at various airports.

Runway incursions occur when aircraft mistakenly come close to other aircraft or vehicles on the runway. These incidents have risen every year since 1993, and last year 431 incidents were reported.

The Airport Movement Area Safety System (AMASS) is technology FAA has been developing for a number of years, and was the focus of an Aviation Subcommittee hearing, chaired by U.S. Rep. John L. Mica (R-FL), on June 26th. At the hearing, the Subcommittee was informed that the AMASS plan was already six years behind schedule, but that the first two systems were being commissioned in San Francisco and Detroit and that additional commissionings were scheduled. FAA however, has recently announced that this schedule must be delayed yet again.

"Obviously, it is important that the FAA take the time it needs to do the job right," said Chairman Mica. "However, it is particularly disturbing to me that only a month after the Aviation Subcommittee held a hearing on this subject, the FAA is already quietly announcing that there will be further delays. I can't help but suspect that the FAA rushed the commissioning of the San Francisco and Detroit AMASS systems in order to have something to announce at our Subcommittee's hearing, but is pushing back the commissioning of the other systems now that attention to AMASS has faded."

Mica urged diligence in completing the AMASS schedule, and examination of other low-tech technologies that may be employed in light of the continuing delays.

For more information see:

Now, Here's some information on the State Level. The General Assembly, Legislative power is vested by Section 1, Article III of the Missouri Constitution in the General Assembly, more commonly known as the Legislature, composed of the Senate and the House of Representatives.

The Senate consists of thirty-four members, who are elected for four-year terms. The House of Representatives consists of 163 members, elected at each general election for two-year terms.

We still have more work, coming in the next few month's. Let's all continue to work together, so we can make a difference for Missouri Aviation.

Until Next Time!

Larry G. Harmon
Legislation Chairman
E-mail address:

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