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Increase In Airport/ATC Funding

Wed Feb 14, 2001 9:16 am

Bush May Fully Fund FAA Programs, House Transport Chairman Says


Washington, Feb. 13 (Bloomberg) -- President George W. Bush's budget for next fiscal year will likely include the full amount authorized in federal law for building new runways and upgrading air-traffic control equipment, a House lawmaker said.

An aide to House Transportation Chairman Don Young said the lawmaker received indications that Bush's Office of Management and Budget will fully fund the law Congress passed last year to increase airport funding. Young had said earlier that Bush officials were preparing a Federal Aviation Administration budget that was some $568 million below authorized levels.

``It's not official yet,'' Young spokesman Steve Hansen said. Still, Bush is likely to request $3.3 billion for capital projects such as runway construction and $2.9 billion for airport facilities and equipment such as radar, he said.

Alaska Republican Young and Representative James Oberstar of Minnesota, the committee's ranking Democrat, wrote Bush last week objecting to the expected holdback from the authorized spending level.

The OMB is helping to craft Bush's federal budget for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1. Transportation Secretary Norm Mineta told an aviation group Feb. 2 that he had spent an hour meeting with OMB Director Mitchell Daniels.

``We're woefully short of where we should be'' in aviation spending in the budget, Mineta said at the time.

Representatives for Daniels and Mineta didn't return telephone calls seeking comment. Bush won't comment on budget specifics until he releases a blueprint of the plan late this month and a detailed budget by early April, said Claire Buchan, a White House spokeswoman.

Feb/13/2001 18:59 ET

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