Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) confirmed Thursday that there will be some deal in the Senate to avert a shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration.Coburn had been holding up legislation that would send emergency funds to the FAA to keep it afloat through the end of the year and prevent what would have been the agency’s second temporary shutdown in as many months. The Senate had until midnight on Friday to pass the bill, which passed the House on Tuesday, before the FAA would have run out of funds.
Coburn initially opposed the bill because, in addition to funding the FAA, it contained provisions related to federal transit projects. In particular, Coburn objected to a provision that requires states to spend 10% of their federal funds on “transportation enhancement” projects, such as bike paths and green space improvements. Coburn’s Deputy Press Secretary Becky Bernhardt confirmed to TBI that Bell MT’,serif; colour: #000066;”>the deal will allow state’s to opt out of that provision under a future long-term highway spending bill.
“[Sen. Coburn] is not opposed to the entire FAA bill,” Bernhardt wrote. “His main concern was with the federal mandate forcing states to spending 10 % of transportation funds on “transportation enhancements” (bike paths, flower beds, etc).”
“He believes these enhancements are mis-allocated resources and that states should be allowed to allocate their transportation funds to the most critical infrastructure needs,” she added.
A vote on the FAA funding bill is expected later Thursday evening.
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