Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Conference report filed in House (09/26/1996)

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

Title I: Airport and Airway Improvements

Title II: FAA Reform

Title III: Aviation Security

Title IV: Aviation Safety

Title V: Pilot Record Sharing

Title VI: Child Pilot Safety

Title VII: Family Assistance

Title VIII: Airport Revenue Protection

Title IX: Metropolitan Washington Airports

Title X: Extension of Airport and Airway Trust Fund

Expenditures

Title XI: FAA Research, Engineering, and Development

Title XII: Miscellaneous Provisions

Federal Aviation Reauthorization Act of 1996 - Title I: Airport and Airway Improvements - Subtitle A: Reauthorization of FAA Programs - Amends Federal aviation law to reauthorize the Airport Improvement Program through FY 1998, with specified allocations for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Facilities and Equipment Program.

(Sec. 102) Authorizes appropriations for the FAA through FY 1998.

Subtitle B: Airport Development Financing - Revises the apportionment of airport improvement fund amounts to sponsors of primary and cargo service airports for each fiscal year.

(Sec. 122) Revises the minimum amount of airport improvement funds that shall be credited in a fiscal year to the discretionary fund.

(Sec. 123) Increases the apportionment for airport improvement grant funds for: (1) airport noise compatibility programs; and (2) current and former military airports.

(Sec. 124) Reduces from 15 to 12 at any time the number of current or former military airports that may receive airport improvement grant funds.

Subtitle C: Airport Improvement Program Modifications - Directs the Secretary of Transportation to encourage: (1) airport sponsors and State and local officials to develop airport master plans and airport system plans; and (2) metropolitan planning organizations, particularly in areas with populations greater than 200,000, to establish membership positions for airport operators.

(Sec. 142) Directs the FAA Administrator to issue guidelines to carry out up to ten pavement maintenance pilot projects to preserve and extend the useful life of airport runways, taxiways, and aprons.

(Sec. 143) Makes it a condition for approval of a grant application for an airport development project that the airport owner or operator makes assurances that it will permit, to the maximum extent practicable, intercity buses to have access to the airport.

(Sec. 144) Eliminates as an allowable project cost for Federal reimbursement certain costs for airport development projects commenced during FY 1994 before the execution of the grant agreement. Allows such reimbursement only for costs incurred after September 30, 1996. Denies priority consideration for the use of discretionary funds for projects incurring costs before execution of the grant agreement.

(Sec. 145) Specifies additional factors for the Secretary to consider in selecting a project for a grant to preserve and enhance capacity at primary and reliever airports.

(Sec. 146) Requires the Secretary, in making grants to sponsors of small airports, to give priority consideration to multi-year projects for construction of new runways that are cost beneficial and that increase capacity in a U.S. region.

(Sec. 147) Increases from seven to eight for FY 1997, and nine for each fiscal year thereafter, the number of States the Secretary may designate to assume administrative responsibility for all airport (except primary airport) grant amounts under the State block grant pilot program. Makes permanent the State block grant pilot program.

(Sec. 148) Authorizes the Secretary to carry out a demonstration program of up to ten projects for grants to implement innovative financing techniques for airport development projects.

(Sec. 149) Authorizes an airport sponsor who intends to sell or lease the airport for a long term to a private person to apply for exemption from the prohibition on the use of airport revenues for non-airport purposes, and the requirement for written assurances about such use. Waives the current prohibition on the imposition of passenger facility fees by any airport receiving such an exemption.

Title II: FAA Reform - Air Traffic Management System Performance Improvement Act of 1996 - Subtitle A: General Provisions - Amends the Federal Aviation Act of 1958 to delineate the powers and duties of the FAA Administrator and the Secretary with respect to the FAA.

(Sec. 224) Authorizes the Administrator to issue, rescind, and revise regulations as necessary to carry out the FAA functions. Prohibits the Administrator, without prior approval of the Secretary, from issuing a proposed or final regulation that is significant or is likely to result in the expenditure by State, local, and tribal governments in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of 100 million or more in any year. Excepts emergency regulations from such prohibition, but subjects them to rescission if the Secretary fails to ratify them. Requires the Administrator to review, within three years after issuance, any unusually burdensome regulations, which would result in the annual expenditure by State, local, and tribal governments in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $25 million or more (adjusted annually for inflation) in any year.

(Sec. 225) Authorizes the Administrator to utilize personnel of other Federal agencies.

(Sec. 230) Directs the Administrator to establish the Federal Aviation Management Advisory Council which shall: (1) provide advice and counsel to the Administrator on issues which affect or are affected by the Administrator's operations; and (2) function as an oversight resource for management, policy, spending, and regulatory matters.

Subtitle B: Federal Aviation Administration Streamlining Programs - Directs the Administrator to employ outside experts to provide an independent evaluation of the effectiveness of the FAA's acquisition management system.

(Sec. 252) Requires the Administrator to terminate programs funded under the Facilities and Equipment account, and to consider the termination of substantial acquisitions, that fail to meet specified established project criteria.

(Sec. 253) Requires the Administrator to negotiate with the bargaining representatives of FAA employees in developing and making changes to the FAA personnel management system.

Subtitle C: System to Fund Certain Federal Aviation Administration Functions - Directs the Administrator to establish a schedule of new user fees, and a collection process for such fees, for various FAA services.

(Sec. 274) Directs the Administrator to contract for an independent assessment of the financial requirements of the FAA through 2002. Establishes the National Civil Aviation Review Commission to: (1) analyze the FAA's budgetary requirements through FY 2002, including an analysis of alternative financing means for meeting the needs of the aviation system; and (2) analyze (through a specified task force) aviation safety in the United States and emerging trends in the safety of particular sectors of the aviation industry.

(Sec. 275) Sets forth congressional procedures for consideration of FAA funding proposals.

(Sec. 277) Requires the multiyear appropriation of funds (not less than three years) for Airport and Airway Trust Fund activities.

Rural Air Service Survival Act - Authorizes the availability of a specified amount of user fees collected for each fiscal year for expenditure to carry out the essential air service program.

Title III: Aviation Security - Directs the Administrator to study and report to the Congress on whether to transfer to airport operators or to the Federal Government certain responsibilities of air carriers relating to security activities at onsite commercial service airports, or to provide for shared responsibilities between air carriers and airport operators or the Federal Government.

(Sec. 302) Directs the Administrator to: (1) certify companies providing security screening at airports; and (2) develop uniform performance standards for providing security screening services.

(Sec. 303) Directs the Administrator to arrange with the National Academy of Sciences or an equivalent entity for a study of the effectiveness of weapons and explosive detection technologies deployed in commercial aviation. Authorizes appropriations.

(Sec. 304) Authorizes the Administrator to require by regulation an employment investigation (including, in certain circumstances, a criminal history record check) for employees who will be responsible for screening airline passengers and property.

(Sec. 305) Directs the Administrator to provide for: (1) the interim deployment of explosive detection devices at airports until certain certified equipment becomes commercially available to replace them; and (2) the periodic audit of the effectiveness of criminal history record checks.

(Sec. 307) Urges the Administrator, the Secretary, the intelligence community, and the law enforcement community to continue to assist air carriers in developing computer-assisted passenger profiling programs for use with other security measures.

(Sec. 308) Authorizes the use of certain project grant funds and passenger facility fees for airport security programs and activities.

(Sec. 309) Requires the Secretary and the Attorney General, acting through the Administrator and the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), to enter into an interagency agreement for establishment of an aviation security liaison at existing appropriate Federal agencies' field offices in or near cities served by a high-risk airport.

(Sec. 310) Requires the Administrator and the FBI Director to carry out, at least triennially, joint threat and vulnerability assessments on security at each high-risk airport.

(Sec. 311) Requires the Administrator to report to Congress on the safety and effectiveness of any bag match pilot program carried out pursuant to certain recommendations. Expresses the sense of the Senate that the Administrator should work with airports and air carriers to develop, to the extent feasible, effective domestic bag matching proposals at airports.

(Sec. 312) Authorizes the Administrator to require each air carrier and airport to conduct periodic vulnerability assessments of their security systems.

(Sec. 313) Directs the Secretary to report to the Congress on any changes recommended and implemented as a result of the White House Conference on Aviation Safety and Security to enhance screening and inspection of cargo, mail, and company-shipped materials transported in commerce.

(Sec. 314) Expresses the sense of the Senate that a state of war should be declared to exist between the United States and any nation that commits an act of international terrorism against a U.S. citizen.

Title IV: Aviation Safety - Directs the Administrator to consider the assigning, maintaining, and enhancing of safety and security as the highest priorities in air commerce. Repeals the duty of the Administrator to promote civil aeronautics.

(Sec. 402) Prohibits the Administrator or any agency from disclosing voluntarily-provided safety or security related information if certain conditions apply.

(Sec. 403) Authorizes the Administrator to issue a supplemental type certificate for a change to an aircraft, aircraft engine, propeller, or appliance.

(Sec. 404) Requires the Administrator to issue an airport operating certificate for an airport (not located in Alaska) that serves any scheduled passenger operation of an air carrier aircraft designed for more than nine but less than 31 passenger seats. (Currently, the mandate covers only an airport serving an air carrier operating aircraft designed for at least 31 passenger seats).

(Sec. 405) Authorizes appropriations to the FAA for FY 1997 for the purpose of addressing State-specific aviation safety problems identified by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

(Sec. 406) Requires the Administrator to prescribe aircraft noise and sonic boom standards for aircraft engines.

(Sec. 407) Directs the NTSB to develop a system for classifying air carrier accident data. Directs the Administrator to give high priority to developing and deploying a fully enhanced safety performance analysis system including automated surveillance targeting systems.

Title V: Pilot Record Sharing - Pilot Records Improvement Act of 1996 - Requires air carriers to request and receive a pilot applicant's record for the previous five years with respect to: (1) current airman certificate, including any summaries of legal enforcement actions; (2) employment; and (3) motor vehicle driving.

(Sec. 502) Prohibits any Federal or State court action for defamation or invasion of privacy against any carrier or person with respect to the furnishing or use of such records according to the requirements of this Act.

(Sec. 503) Directs the Administrator to appoint a task force to study: (1) the development of standards and criteria for preemployment screening of pilots and pilot training facilities; and (2) to determine if the practice of air carriers requiring employees to pay for the training that is needed to perform flight check duties is in the public interest.

(Sec. 504) Directs the Administrator to study and report to Congress on whether current minimum flight requirements for air carrier pilot applicants are sufficient to ensure public safety.

Title VI: Child Pilot Safety - Child Pilot Safety Act - Prohibits a pilot in command of an aircraft from allowing an individual who does not hold a valid private pilot's certificate, and an appropriate medical certificate, to manipulate the controls of an aircraft if the pilot knows or should have known that the individual is attempting to set a record or engage in an aeronautical competition or aeronautical feat.

(Sec. 602) Mandates revocation of the Federal certificate of any airman who, while acting as a pilot in command of an aircraft, permits another individual to manipulate the aircraft's controls in violation of this Act.

Directs the Administrator to conduct a study and report on the impacts of children flying aircraft.

Title VII: Family Assistance - Aviation Disaster Family Assistance Act of 1996 - Requires the Chairman of the NTSB, after an accident involving an aircraft that results in a significant loss of life, to: (1) designate and publicize the name and phone number of a director of family support services to be a Government liaison between the air carrier and the families of the passengers; and (2) designate an experienced, independent nonprofit organization which shall have primary responsibility for coordinating the care and support of the passengers' families. Grants the NTSB primary responsibility for coordinating the recovery and identification of passengers involved in an aircraft accident.

(Sec. 702) Prohibits any person from impeding the ability of the NTSB, or the designated organization, from carrying out its responsibilities under this Act. Sets forth penalties for violations of this Act.

(Sec. 703) Requires each air carrier to submit to the Secretary of Transportation a plan for addressing the needs of the passengers' families. Prohibits the Secretary from approving an air carrier's application for a certificate of public convenience and necessity without such plan in its application.

(Sec. 704) Requires the Secretary to establish a task force to develop: (1) a model plan to assist air carriers in responding to aircraft accidents; and (2) recommendations to the Congress on methods to ensure that attorneys and the media do not intrude on the privacy of the passengers' families.

Title VIII: Airport Revenue Protection - Airport Revenue Protection Act of 1996 - Amends Federal aviation law to prohibit, with specified exceptions, the expenditure for non-airport purposes of local aviation fuel taxes or revenues generated by an airport that is the subject of Federal assistance or that operates pursuant to an airport operating certificate. Sets forth a civil penalty for diversion of aviation revenues.

(Sec. 805) Requires the Secretary, acting through the Administrator, to promulgate regulations requiring a recipient of an airport project grant or any other Federal airport financial assistance to include in its annual audit a review of airport-related funding activities.

Requires the Secretary to review any audit identifying an illegal diversion of airport revenues. Authorizes the Secretary, after determining such identification is accurate, and notifying the airport and its sponsor, to withhold any amount from apportioned or grant funds that would otherwise be made available to the sponsor. Authorizes the Secretary to initiate a civil action under which the sponsor shall be liable for a civil penalty equal to the amount of the illegal diversion, plus interest.

Amends the Internal Revenue Code to conform to this Act.

Title IX: Metropolitan Washington Airports - Metropolitan Washington Airports Amendments Act of 1996 - Amends the Metropolitan Washington Airports Act of 1986 to revise the composition of the board of directors of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, among other things increasing the number of members from 11 to 13.

(Sec. 903) Requires board members appointed by the President to be registered voters of States other than Maryland, Virginia, or the District of Columbia. Revises requirements for length of term and the filling of vacancies. Declares that no more than two members of the board appointed by the President may be of the same political party. Requires eight votes (currently, seven) to approve bond issues and the annual budget.

(Sec. 904) Terminates the Board of Review of the Airports Authority.

(Sec. 905) Prohibits the Secretary, after October 1, 2001, from approving an application of the Airports Authority for: (1) an airport development project grant; or (2) imposition of a passenger facility fee.

(Sec. 906) Directs the Airports Authority to continue to enforce certain restrictions in the Metropolitan Washington Airports Regulations with respect to the use of the Dulles access highway.

(Sec. 909) Expresses the sense of the Senate that the Airports Authority: (1) should not provide free reserved parking areas to Members of Congress, Government officials, or diplomats; and (2) should establish a parking policy for airports that provides equal access to the public.

Title X: Extension of Airport and Airway Trust Fund Expenditures - Extends the expenditure authority of the Airport and Airway Trust Fund through October 1, 1998.

Title XI: FAA Research, Engineering, and Development - FAA Research, Engineering, and Development Management Reform Act of 1996 - Amends Federal transportation law to authorize appropriations for FY 1997 for specified aviation programs.

(Sec. 1103) Directs the Administrator of the FAA to consider the advice of a certain research advisory committee in establishing research and development priorities.

(Sec. 1104) Directs the research advisory committee in the FAA to review annually the Administrator's appropriation allocation among major research and development activities, and give advice and recommendations on whether such allocation is appropriate to meet certain needs and objectives.

(Sec. 1105) Amends the guidelines for the national aviation research plan with respect to the goals, priorities, and resources of research and development activities.

Title XII: Miscellaneous Provisions - Authorizes the Administrator, in carrying out various aviation programs, to purchase a housing unit located outside the contiguous United States if the unit's cost is $300,000 or less.

(Sec. 1203) Authorizes a sponsor to close, without any obligation to repay grants, a non-commercial service airport located near a closed or realigned military base.

(Sec. 1204) Authorizes the Secretary to waive, subject to specified conditions, any deed terms in a specified conveyance of certain property to Gadsden, Alabama, for airport purposes.

(Sec. 1205) Directs the FAA Administrator, in modifying certain regulations in a manner affecting intrastate aviation in Alaska, to consider the extent to which Alaska is not served by transportation other than aviation.

(Sec. 1206) Provides for the payment of all Westchester County Airport, New York, fees into the Westchester County treasury.

(Sec. 1207) Authorizes the Administrator to transfer and install at Bedford Airport, Pennsylvania, any instrument landing system decommissioned elsewhere in the State.

(Sec. 1208) Directs the Administrator to take action to improve the safety of aircraft landing: (1) at Worcester Municipal Airport, Massachusetts, including, if appropriate, providing air traffic radar service from the Providence Approach Radar Control in Coventry, Rhode Island; and (2) at Central Florida Airport, Sanford, Florida, including, if appropriate, providing a new instrument landing system on Runway 27R.

(Sec. 1210) Amends the Airport and Airway Improvement Act of 1982 to establish within the FAA an Aircraft Noise Ombudsman who shall be consulted when the FAA proposes changes in aircraft routes so as to minimize any increases in aircraft noise over populated areas.

(Sec. 1211) Amends Federal transportation law to declare that, if any privately owned reliever airport contributes any lands, easements, or rights-of-way to carry out an airport improvement project, their current fair market value shall be credited toward the non-Federal share of allowable project costs.

(Sec. 1212) Expresses the sense of the Senate that there should be an immediate enactment of an 18-month reinstatement of the aviation excise taxes to provide short-term funding for the FAA.

(Sec. 1213) Directs the Secretary to study and report to specified congressional committees on rural air fare.

(Sec. 1214) Directs the Administrator to revise certain regulations to apply to candidates for State or local office the same or similar carriage rules as apply to candidates for Federal office.

(Sec. 1215) Directs the Secretary, acting through the Administrator, to provide 45 additional days for comment by interested persons on certain proposed special flight rules in the vicinity of Grand Canyon National Park.

(Sec. 1216) Authorizes the Administrator to: (1) transfer any U.S. title, right or interest in the air traffic control tower at Hickory Regional Airport to the City of Hickory, North Carolina; and (2) study and certify to specified congressional committees whether the number of operations at such airport meet the criteria for contract towers.

Prohibits the Administrator from closing the New Bern-Craven County flight services station, the Hickory Regional Airport flight service station, or the Pierre, South Dakota Regional Airport flight service station without certification to the same committees that such closure: (1) will not result in the degradation of air safety (at the first two stations) or (at the third station) of air safety, air service, or the loss of meteorological services or data that cannot be obtained in a more cost-effective way, and that any such station closure will reduce costs to taxpayers.

(Sec. 1217) Directs the Administrator to study and report to Congress on the feasibility of constructing two offshore platforms to serve as sites for the location of Doppler radar stations for John F. Kennedy International Airport and LaGuardia Airport in New York City, New York.

(Sec. 1218) Requires the Secretary to take into account the interest of affected communities (among other criteria) when issuing Federal train whistle regulations.

(Sec. 1219) Prohibits the Surface Transportation Board from increasing service fees for small shippers in connection with rail maximum rate complaints.

(Sec. 1220) Amends Federal transportation law to declare that, in a case in which two landfills have been proposed or established within six miles of a commercial service airport with fewer than 50,000 enplanements per year, no person shall construct or establish either landfill if an official of the Federal Aviation Administration has stated in writing within the three-year period ending on the date of the enactment of this Act that one of the landfills would be incompatible with aircraft operations at the airport, unless the landfill is already active on such date of enactment or the airport operator agrees to the construction or establishment of the landfill.

(Sec. 1221) Declares that, through FY 1998, an air carrier which commenced all-cargo turnaround service during November 1995 with Stage 2 aircraft with a maximum weight of more than 75,000 pounds: (1) may operate no more than one such aircraft in all-cargo turnaround service; but (2) may maintain a second such aircraft in reserve. Limits the use of the reserve aircraft to replacement of the first aircraft when it is not airworthy or is unavailable due to closure of an airport in Hawaii at which it is located.

(Sec. 1222) Amends the Johnson Act to provide that States (except Hawaii) may not regulate the possession or use of gambling equipment on a vessel whose voyage includes or consists of a segment: (1) that begins and ends in the same State; (2) that is part of a voyage to another State or a foreign country; and (3) in which the vessel reaches the other State or foreign country within three days after leaving the State in which it begins.