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President signs FAA reauthorization into law

Federal Aviation Administration
On Dec. 16, the eve of the Centennial of Flight, President George W. Bush signed into law the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration’s four-year, $60 billion dollar reauthorization bill, Vision 100 – The Century of Aviation Act.

Vision 100 strengthens America’s aviation sector, provides needed authority to the FAA and enhances the safety of the traveling public.

The bill provides $14 billion dollars for airport construction projects, $140 million dollars to assist small communities in attracting and retaining air service, $308 million dollars to ensure air service to isolated communities, and $2 billion dollars to create more efficient security screening at airports.

Vision 100 provides a new source of funding for important environmental and clean air initiatives at airports. The bill also includes an important pilot project that will allow the FAA to work collaboratively with the airlines to reduce delays at the nation’s most congested airports.Founded in 1931, the National Association of State Aviation Officials (NASAO) is one of the most senior aviation organizations in the United States, predating even the Federal Aviation Administration’s predecessor, the Civil Aeronautics Authority.

The states first established NASAO to ensure uniformity of safety measures, to standardize airport regulations and develop a truly national air transportation system responsive to local, state, and regional needs.

Since 1931, NASAO has been unique among aviation advocates. Unlike special interest groups, which speak for a single type of aeronautical activity or a narrow band of the rich spectrum of the American aviation community, NASAO represents the men and women, in state government aviation agencies, who serve the public interest in all 50 states, Guam and Puerto Rico.

These highly skilled professionals are full partners with the federal government in the development and maintenance of the safest and most efficient aviation system in the world.

NASAO members organize, promote, and fund a wide variety of aviation programs across the nation. All states develop statewide aviation system plans and airport capital improvement plans. The states invest about $450 million annually in planning, operations, infrastructure development, maintenance, and navigational aids at 5,000 airports across the country.

Many states also build, own, and operate their own airports. Each year, state aviation officials conduct safety inspections at thousands of public-use airports. Countless aviation activities including statewide meetings, airport symposiums, pilot safety seminars, and aviation education forums are also organized annually by the states.

The role of state programs and the responsibilities of the state aviation agencies are expanding. In 1996, Congress made the state block grant program permanent. As a result, nine states are already fully responsible for directly administering federal Airport Improvement Program funds. In an era of declining federal budgets and downsized government programs, the states’ involvement in aviation is growing.

In 1986, the non-profit NASAO Center for Aviation Research and Education was created to "enhance the public good through an increasingly safe air transportation system." It is also a major participant in the International Aviation Art Contest for children and other aviation education efforts.

The NASAO Washington staff presents the views of the states to Congress and the Administration, and works closely with the Department of Transportation, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Transportation Research Board, and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.

It is also the only organization of its type to have an official Memorandum of Understanding with the Federal Aviation Administration. The staff maintains strong relationships with all aviation groups and similar associations such as the National Governors’ Association, the Southern Governors Association, and the National Conference of State Legislatures.