WASHINGTON, D.C.—The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) recently applauded the introduction of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act of 2007, by Rep. James Oberstar (D-Minn.), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure committee; Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.), senior Republican on the committee; Rep. Jerry Costello (D-Ill.), chairman of the Aviation subcommittee; and Rep. Thomas Petri (R-Wis.), ranking Republican on the subcommittee. If enacted, this bipartisan bill would provide $66 billion over the next four years to help rebuild U.S. airports and modernize the aviation system.

"This legislation will increase public safety and finance urgent, needed repairs to America’s airports," said ASCE President Bill Marcuson, Ph.D., P.E., Hon.M.ASCE. "Congress is beginning to hear the message in our 2005 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure. We congratulate Mr. Oberstar, Mr. Mica, and the entire committee for moving forward on this very important piece of legislation."

In March 2005, ASCE’s Report Card for America’s Infrastructure noted a downward trend in many infrastructure sectors; with only two of the 15 categories it assessed showing any marginal improvement. With an overall grade of "D," and a $1.6 trillion investment need, the report card echoed a nearly two-decade-old public warning that America’s infrastructure was in decline. Enactment of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2007 is a critical part of the Action Plan ASCE developed for the 110th Congress, which identifies 11 legislative actions the 110th Congress should take to raise the grades for America’s infrastructure.

An essential step in revitalizing the nation’s weakening infrastructure, the legislation would provide $15.8 billion in new funding for the Airport Improvement Program (AIP) to meet the growing capital needs of the nation’s airports; authorize $13 billion for the FAA facilities and equipment program to modernize the management of the nation’s airspace; and increase the cap on the Passenger Facility Charge (PFC) from $4.50 to $7.

The bill also recommends that the House Ways and Means Committee increase the federal excise tax on commercial aviation fuel from 19.3 cents a gallon to 24.1 cents a gallon to finance the air traffic control system.

The recommendation also asks Ways and Means to increase the tax on general aviation fuel from 21.8 cents a gallon to 30.7 cents a gallon.

For more information, visit www.infrastructurereportcard.org.