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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Federal Civil Aviation Programs: An Overview

Bart Elias
Specialist in Aviation Policy

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) programs and activities are funded under four broad budget accounts: operations and maintenance (such as air traffic control and aviation safety functions); facilities and equipment (such as control towers and navigation beacons); grants for airport improvements under the airports improvement program (AIP); and civil aviation research and development conducted or sponsored by FAA. Additionally, aviation programs fund aviation programs administered by the Department of Transportation (DOT) Office of the Secretary, including the Essential Air Service Program that subsidizes airline service to certain small and isolated communities. These programs are funded primarily through a special trust fund, the airport and airways trust fund (AATF), and, in part, through general fund contributions.

Other federal entities also play significant roles in civil aviation. These include the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, which conducts extensive research on civil aeronautics; the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which provides research and operational support to FAA regarding aviation weather forecasting; the Transportation Security Administration in the Department of Homeland Security, which has authority over civil aviation security; and the National Transportation Safety Board, which investigates aviation accidents and makes safety recommendations to FAA. These programs are not considered in this report. This report focuses on FAA and DOT civil aviation programs addressed in the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (P.L. 112-95), enacted on February 14, 2012, which authorizes AATF taxes and revenue collections and civil aviation program expenditures through FY2015.

Date of Report: October 17, 2012
Number of Pages: 13
Order Number: R42781
Price: $29.95

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