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Air Traffic Overhaul Fight Could Hobble FAA Bill

Lawmakers' attempt to split off the nation's air traffic control system from the Federal Aviation Administration could disrupt efforts to pass a seamless six-year reauthorization of the agency, sparking fierce bickering over cost and safety oversight concerns tied to a split, experts say.

Republican leaders of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on Wednesday unveiled sprawling legislation to reauthorize the FAA under the Aviation Innovation, Reform and Reauthorization Act, carving out money for airport infrastructure upgrades, streamlining the FAA's aviation equipment and aircraft certification process, and laying out a framework to help the agency integrate unmanned aircraft systems — or drones.


"Because it's such a fundamental change in the existing structure of air traffic control and the FAA regulatory system, it's going to drive where this bill goes, how long it takes to get through the House and what happens to it in the Senate," Greenberg Traurig LLP partner Alan Slomowitz told Law360. "It's the most significant overhaul of FAA regulatory authority since Congress deregulated aviation in the 1970s."

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