FAA hits partial shutdown. Nobody notices.

posted at 9:15 am on July 23, 2011 by Jazz Shaw

We previously posed the question, what happens if Congress can’t manage to agree on another extension of the FAA authorization before the current one expires? Well, when the clock struck midnight yesterday, we found out.

Since politicians were not able to come to an agreement over extending the operating authority of the FAA as of midnight tonight, about 4,000 people will be out of work and federal airline ticket tax will no longer be collected. The shutdown will not affect airline safety, but it will stop airlines from collecting about $200million per week in ticket taxes that would help to to fund FAA programs. In the short term, passengers might celebrate since they will be able to save money by not paying taxes, but this means that projects will be delayed and costs might end up being higher in the long run.

Folks, this is a disaster. Sure, the planes are still flying. And, yes, the flight controllers and safety personnel are still on the job so it should be safe. But a lot of government workers were furloughed. And they won’t be able to collect taxes! And tickets may be cheaper this week! And… and…

You know, I’m not actually making a very good argument against shutting down the FAA, am I?

I’m kidding, of course. There will be some long term repercussions from this, with particularly fierce impact on smaller, rural airports. Those funds are required for repairs, construction and some scheduled maintenance items. It may seem like a short term, happy tax holiday for travelers, but the bill is going to come due sooner or later. (And we’re talking about the government here, so you already know who gets to pay that bill, right?) And since the Senate seems to have left town, it’s not going to get resolved overnight.

Just another example of congressional action and efficiency at work!

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I’m kidding, of course. There will be some long term repercussions from this, with particularly fierce impact on smaller, rural airports. Those funds are required for repairs, construction and some scheduled maintenance items.

Some things are just not going to be paid for anymore, maybe this type of thing is just the first on the chopping block.

Hiya Ciska on July 23, 2011 at 9:21 AM

Just another example of congressional action and efficiency at work!

It seems that we have too much congressional involvement in our lives.
Maybe that is a problem.

Electrongod on July 23, 2011 at 9:23 AM

Some things are just not going to be paid for anymore, maybe this type of thing is just the first on the chopping block.

Hiya Ciska

But contraceptives will be made available “for free”, says Sec. Sillybus.

honsy on July 23, 2011 at 9:24 AM

When agencies are forced to cut back and streamline, that is a good thing.

The initial impulse will be to put off such things as maintenance, etc. But once the fear of lawsuit for failing to repair certain things or maintain a certain level of service are threatened, the airports will learn to take care of those things and forgo crap for staff they don’t need and shouldn’t have to begin with.

OR…

The airports will simply jack up fees and prices for other stuff to cover the ‘loss’ – parking fees, rents or leasing fees for vendors, that kind of thing.

catmman on July 23, 2011 at 9:27 AM

How about defunding the epa, nea, bhocare, czars, and numerous other agencies to save us money?
L

letget on July 23, 2011 at 9:28 AM

Too bad it wasn’t the FCC.

tinkerthinker on July 23, 2011 at 9:29 AM

Now is the time to call your congress critters and demand that they not start it up again.

gh on July 23, 2011 at 9:30 AM

Get the hell outta’ my life & wallet, Mother Gov’t…

OmahaConservative on July 23, 2011 at 9:31 AM

There will be some long term repercussions from this, with particularly fierce impact on smaller, rural airports. Those funds are required for repairs, construction and some scheduled maintenance items.

.
HEY! Think of it as a defunding test case and an exercise in prioritizing funds expenditures so that the money available is effectively spent rather than spread around in a thick layer, like wastrels usually do. Sure, it’ll be painful but that which does not kill you makes you stronger. So, there’s that we have going for us…

ExpressoBold on July 23, 2011 at 9:31 AM

“Those funds are required for repairs, construction and some scheduled maintenance items.”

The problem I have is how much “skim” is taken off the top by the paper pushers.

RADIOONE on July 23, 2011 at 9:34 AM

Hey Harry do your job! Harry you are a worthless piece of desert dung.

tim c on July 23, 2011 at 9:35 AM

Yes, Jazz, without the government all those smaller airports will just not be feasible. That is so horrible! /sarc

There will be some long term repercussions from this, with particularly fierce impact on smaller, rural airports. Those funds are required for repairs, construction and some scheduled maintenance items.

Meh. If they can’t survive without the government, then perhaps they aren’t run very well or don’t actually have the customer base to support them in the first place. Now we can find out. Letting them live or die on their own is what free market is about.

Pattosensei on July 23, 2011 at 9:36 AM

Too bad this isn’t about TSA having to reduce workers. I would love to see them effected by the government’s funding problems!

jackal40 on July 23, 2011 at 9:39 AM

The airports will simply jack up fees and prices for other stuff to cover the ‘loss’ – parking fees, rents or leasing fees for vendors, that kind of thing.

catmman on July 23, 2011 at 9:27 AM

Raising prices in a economic downturn is not a good path to take. Same as taxes.

Some airports will shutdown, with the accompanying loss of jobs…take Toledo Express Airport, for example. Yesterday it was announced that BAX (a German-owned air freight company) would end operations at Toledo and 700 jobs would be lost to the Toledo area. As a result, the loss of a couple million annually to the Toledo Port Authority means that Toledo Express may have to close, save for an Air National Guard squadron which shares the airport.

Is closing Toledo Express a bad thing?

Perhaps not. Detroit Metro is 30 minutes up the Interstate and we have Port Columbus and Cleveland Hopkins within a hour or so drive. The annual passenger flow at Toledo is miniscule…and we, the taxpayers, are paying for most of it.

Bottom line? There are times when contraction of government and government programs is a good thing, and that time is now. The world will not end if a number of regional airports east of the Mississippi are closed. Most were vanity airports anyway, such as Murtha Memorial in Johnstown, PA, maintained and managed almost solely with taxpayer money.

FAA shuts down except for essential services. OK. It has. The sun came up this morning and planes are flying in every air corridor with the same number of passengers as they had yesterday.

Now to look at all government agencies and see how essential they are and what non-essential parts can be shut down, for good. For good. For the good of all of us.

coldwarrior on July 23, 2011 at 9:40 AM

You know, I’m not actually making a very good argument against shutting down the FAA, am I?

why yes, you should keep going.

ted c on July 23, 2011 at 9:47 AM

sometimes you have to take the patient off the ventilator to see if they’ll breathe on their own….

ted c on July 23, 2011 at 9:47 AM

coldwarrior on July 23, 2011 at 9:40 AM

Could you come and have a word with our Commie in Chief, Hanoi Julia? She could do with a bit of common sense being drilled into her.

OldEnglish on July 23, 2011 at 9:51 AM

200 million dollars a week ?
AYFKM….?

NeoKong on July 23, 2011 at 9:53 AM

How about having those local airports pay bills without the feds helping?

I’m a bleedin’ devolutionary ain’t I?

IlikedAUH2O on July 23, 2011 at 9:53 AM

Pssst! I’ll let you in on a dirty secret. About 80% of government could be shut down AND NO ONE WOULD NOTICE!

GarandFan on July 23, 2011 at 9:55 AM

OldEnglish on July 23, 2011 at 9:51 AM

Love to help ya, mate, but perhaps you guys could establish a modern-era Botany Bay on some god-forsaken island in the southern seas for Ms. Gillard and her ilk. We’d be happy to donate this guy they call Barack to lend a bit of diversity.

coldwarrior on July 23, 2011 at 9:57 AM

coldwarrior on July 23, 2011 at 9:57 AM

Hah! Two snoots on one island – a marriage made in hell!

OldEnglish on July 23, 2011 at 10:02 AM

Screw it. Shut it down. Now. Turn off the lights and go home.

moochy on July 23, 2011 at 10:02 AM

OldEnglish on July 23, 2011 at 10:02 AM

Ya gotta admit, they deserve each other.

coldwarrior on July 23, 2011 at 10:04 AM

Since politicians were not able to come to an agreement over extending the operating authority of the FAA as of midnight tonight, about 4,000 people will be out of work

I’ll be shocked if they don’t get paid for staying home and more.

Speakup on July 23, 2011 at 10:06 AM

There will be some long term repercussions from this, with particularly fierce impact on smaller, rural airports. Those funds are required for repairs, construction and some scheduled maintenance items.

This is just a backdoor way of getting train legislation fast-tracked.
Every action has an equal and opposite reaction when govt is involved.

darwin-t on July 23, 2011 at 10:12 AM

Shut every regulatory agency down for a few weeks. Then we’ll see just how many of them are really necessary. If the government is looking for cuts in the budget, what better way to find out where.

Tommy_G on July 23, 2011 at 10:13 AM

If we dropped the ticket tax and let the airports add about 60% of the tax as user fees we’d all come out ahead. The feds probably blow half the take on government paper shufflers.
The same is true of any other government agency/program you can name.

countrybumpkin on July 23, 2011 at 10:14 AM

The ticket tax is one of the few things in government that works in a reasonable fashion. The ticket tax and taxes on aviation fuel go to the Airport Improvement Fund. Money from that fund is used only to fund airport capital improvement or repairs. A reasonably efficient and fair system.
The FAA wastes huge sums of of tax dollars and has programs that should go away. The AIF is not one of them.

Aviator on July 23, 2011 at 10:15 AM

coldwarrior on July 23, 2011 at 10:04 AM

So true, but what did we do to deserve them? I know life was never meant to be a bowl of cherries, but really!

OldEnglish on July 23, 2011 at 10:17 AM

Is Allah on vacation?

mbs on July 23, 2011 at 10:20 AM

Is Allahpundit on vacation?

mbs on July 23, 2011 at 10:21 AM

Sorry for the double post, the first one didn’t show up for awhile, I thought it didn’t go through.

mbs on July 23, 2011 at 10:21 AM

Those funds are required for repairs, construction and some scheduled maintenance items.

Tell me why they have to be Federal funds?

ss396 on July 23, 2011 at 10:24 AM

Aviator on July 23, 2011 at 10:15 AM

+1

Lance Murdock on July 23, 2011 at 10:26 AM

“Those funds are required for repairs, construction and some scheduled maintenance items.”

The problem I have is how much “skim” is taken off the top by the paper pushers.

RADIOONE on July 23, 2011 at 9:34 AM

Yep, there have been news reports over the years about how that money simply disappears into the maw of the DC machine, and little of it gets spent on capital improvements. This story regularly comes up wrt outdated radar used by flight controllers.

slickwillie2001 on July 23, 2011 at 10:28 AM

Government agency shuts down, no one notices.

Hardest hit: Government agencies still open

“I hope the people don’t find out we’re not all that vital either”

BobMbx on July 23, 2011 at 10:29 AM

Shut every regulatory agency down for a few weeks. Then we’ll see just how many of them are really necessary. If the government is looking for cuts in the budget, what better way to find out where.

Tommy_G on July 23, 2011 at 10:13 AM

Brillian idea. Like testing for food allergies, we can look at them one by one and figure out which agencies we can tolerate and which ones we cannot.

Fallon on July 23, 2011 at 10:40 AM

Is Allahpundit on vacation?

mbs on July 23, 2011 at 10:21 AM

He’ll be back on Monday. He’s at the beach. :-)

Jazz Shaw on July 23, 2011 at 10:42 AM

Just another example of congressional action and efficiency at work!

The bill is being held up because a few Senators are having a snit because they have not been successful in adding their favorite pork riders. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) in particular is most culpable. Much like the late John Murtha’s airport to nowhere, Rockefeller has his own pork laden airports in small towns that get very little use, and he has grand plans to make them the next ATL or LAX.

simkeith on July 23, 2011 at 10:55 AM

FAA union hacks…..

Get a job!

Danny on July 23, 2011 at 11:14 AM

Goodie! Perfect time to buy my ticket for my trip to New Zealand in November!

behiker on July 23, 2011 at 11:19 AM

Hah! Two snoots on one island – a marriage made in hell!

OldEnglish on July 23, 2011 at 10:02 AM

.
I can envision twice daily press conferences by one or the other, whining incessantly about some issue important only to themselves, arguing between themselves about the pecking order, the perquisites available, the accommodations, the taxes the other pays, the benefits the other receives, yadda yadda yadda…
.
Commies really don’t get along with each other because there is never enough of anything to go around once much less to have a surplus. They become very territorial and defensive.

ExpressoBold on July 23, 2011 at 11:19 AM

They become very territorial and defensive.

ExpressoBold on July 23, 2011 at 11:19 AM

Hey, you’ve just described my marriage! :)

OldEnglish on July 23, 2011 at 11:27 AM

Some things are just not going to be paid for anymore, maybe this type of thing is just the first on the chopping block.

Hiya Ciska on July 23, 2011 at 9:21 AM

Absolutely. We have MASSIVE suburban and rural infrastructure that makes little sense from a planning perspective, and costs a ton of money.

ernesto on July 23, 2011 at 11:31 AM

ernesto on July 23, 2011 at 11:31 AM

If suburban development allows me to live well away from the inner-city nuts, I’m all for it!

OldEnglish on July 23, 2011 at 11:36 AM

There will be some long term repercussions from this, with particularly fierce impact on smaller, rural airports.

You know, the ones that shouldn’t exist.

If you want to live in a place where it’s not economically feasible for someone to build an airport, then you shouldn’t get a subsidized airport.

HitNRun on July 23, 2011 at 11:50 AM

The ticket tax is one of the few things in government that works in a reasonable fashion. The ticket tax and taxes on aviation fuel go to the Airport Improvement Fund. Money from that fund is used only to fund airport capital improvement or repairs.

Why? Let the airports decide what kind of fee they can charge passengers.. as said, if the airports can’t come up with their own fee to maintain their properties, then do they really need to exist?

DaSaintFan on July 23, 2011 at 11:54 AM

Keep Jazz, Tina, and Patrick Doing posts on a regular basis. Broaden the appeal. Not all of us love Snark in the evening.

birdhurd on July 23, 2011 at 12:11 PM

Too bad it wasn’t the FCC.

tinkerthinker on July 23, 2011 at 9:29 AM

Take a tip take a lesson
You’ll never win by messin’
With the fellas at the freakin’ FCC

Lanceman on July 23, 2011 at 12:25 PM

Keep Jazz, Tina, and Patrick Doing posts on a regular basis. Broaden the appeal. Not all of us love Snark in the evening.

birdhurd on July 23, 2011 at 12:11 PM

I’d like to see some conseratives added to the mix.

slickwillie2001 on July 23, 2011 at 12:42 PM

Too bad it wasn’t the FCC.

tinkerthinker on July 23, 2011 at 9:29 AM

or EPA :-)…am sure you won’t notice a drastic change in your air quality overnight coz of EPA shutting down :-)…actually the air around us will get more breathable then, when they shut up (less CO2 emission :-) and shut down :-)…

jimver on July 23, 2011 at 2:06 PM

There will be some long term repercussions from this, with particularly fierce impact on smaller, rural airports. Those funds are required for repairs, construction and some scheduled maintenance items.

So we should encourage people to pay the “real” full cost of things like oil, ethanol, train travel, etc. by ending subsidies.

But not for rural airports, because… Why?

Seriously, lay it out for me. Why should everyone’s tax dollars go to subsidizing this specific line item? If it’s so important it should be trivial to show me why we MUST make this less expensive to the few that use it; at a cost to everyone else.

Either that or I guess I don’t get it. If a plan involves getting the government out of… well, pretty much everything. Then wouldn’t something need to be drastically special and important to get subsidies?

How does this materially differ from the Amtrak subsidies; why is is better or more useful, and what justifies the expanse?

Maybe there’s an answer, and maybe it’s a good answer. But you need to have one in order to keep spending money here when you’re broke, don’t you?

gekkobear on July 23, 2011 at 2:38 PM

Cool, now I don’t hafta worry ’bout FAA agents checking my manual :-)

Tony737 on July 23, 2011 at 2:42 PM

There will be some long term repercussions from this, with particularly fierce impact on smaller, rural airports.

Like This One

The smaller rural airports don’t get any of that gravy money. They get non-scheduled at best. Usually General Aviation only. A good thing.

OTOH there are a buncha subsidized airports like the one above that have no traffic reason for their size or facilities. Imagine 50 miles of six lane interstate to, but not thru, a town of 20,000.

Wonder if there will be a suspension of IFR only for all commercial flights. IIRC military controllers took up some slack in 1981.

Caststeel on July 23, 2011 at 3:46 PM

The current FAA reauthorization expires at midnight tonight, Friday, July 22, 2011. Congress has extended the FAA’s authorization 20 separate times without controversy. Without an extension, the FAA will be forced to furlough nearly 4,000 employees and will be unable to move forward on important airport construction projects and other critical airport activities.

The link also lists nine airports that will have project fundingdelayed. Not actual being shovled projects. Then there are all the states that have their hands in the Aviation Trust Fund. Just why states get grants from ATF is unknown.

Apparently ATC is unaffected.

Most of the actual inspection and actual airplane work is by Designated Engineering Representatives, private employees who are specialists at what they do.

Okay, one agency on short rations. Lots more to go.

Caststeel on July 23, 2011 at 4:18 PM

If something needs to be done then communities, local gov’ts, and private sector investment will figure it out. If not, then it probably doesn’t need to be done. Federal Big Government winner picking is not needed, not wanted.

exdeadhead on July 23, 2011 at 5:19 PM

This won’t affect John Murtha International will it?

slickwillie2001 on July 23, 2011 at 5:21 PM

Privatize the smaller airports. Let Southwest build and operate one of their own, for example – I’m sure they could make a tidy profit doing so.

glockomatic on July 23, 2011 at 5:53 PM

Trust the airlines to blow the chance to score some GREAT pr..

No drops in ticket prices

US Airways and American Airlines raised fares to offset the tax savings.

-

how dumb can ya be?

DaSaintFan on July 23, 2011 at 7:16 PM

Seriously, lay it out for me. Why should everyone’s tax dollars go to subsidizing this specific line item? If it’s so important it should be trivial to show me why we MUST make this less expensive to the few that use it; at a cost to everyone else.

Either that or I guess I don’t get it. If a plan involves getting the government out of… well, pretty much everything. Then wouldn’t something need to be drastically special and important to get subsidies?

How does this materially differ from the Amtrak subsidies; why is is better or more useful, and what justifies the expanse?

Maybe there’s an answer, and maybe it’s a good answer. But you need to have one in order to keep spending money here when you’re broke, don’t you?

gekkobear on July 23, 2011 at 2:38 PM

The taxes are collected from airline ticket sales… So the tax payers are airplane passengers, the very people who benefit from the “subsidies”. Just like the gas tax going to roads (though they don’t cover enough to pay for it all).

jonknee on July 23, 2011 at 9:05 PM

The taxes are collected from airline ticket sales… So the tax payers are airplane passengers, the very people who benefit from the “subsidies”. Just like the gas tax going to roads (though they don’t cover enough to pay for it all).

jonknee on July 23, 2011 at 9:05 PM

Why does it make sense to tax everyone, send the money to Washington, just so the states have to BEG for Washington to send it back…after Washington rakes off a huge fee for abusing us???

All this loopy scheme does is enable Washington to blackmail and control us, and to threaten us with “loss of highway funds” every time a state wants to do something different. The states should handle most of the road and airport maintenance, and most of the money should be handled locally WITHOUT any Washington interference whatsoever.

Sending money for state roads to Washington first should be stopped: a lot of this foolishness is unconstitutional…by the intent of the Constitution even if not by the letter of the Constitution. Washington supremacy is a seriously flawed substitute for true Federalism.

So I say: LETS HAVE MORE OF THESE INSTRUCTIONAL AND REVEALING SHUTDOWNS!!!

landlines on July 23, 2011 at 11:16 PM

Why does it make sense to tax everyone, send the money to Washington, just so the states have to BEG for Washington to send it back…after Washington rakes off a huge fee for abusing us???

All this loopy scheme does is enable Washington to blackmail and control us, and to threaten us with “loss of highway funds” every time a state wants to do something different. The states should handle most of the road and airport maintenance, and most of the money should be handled locally WITHOUT any Washington interference whatsoever.

Sending money for state roads to Washington first should be stopped: a lot of this foolishness is unconstitutional…by the intent of the Constitution even if not by the letter of the Constitution. Washington supremacy is a seriously flawed substitute for true Federalism.

So I say: LETS HAVE MORE OF THESE INSTRUCTIONAL AND REVEALING SHUTDOWNS!!!

landlines on July 23, 2011 at 11:16 PM

That’d be fine by me, but it would be the end of rural America

jonknee on July 24, 2011 at 12:28 PM

That’d be fine by me, but it would be the end of rural America

jonknee on July 24, 2011 at 12:28 PM

I think rural America would be JUST FINE!!! After all, rural America is where our original values came from.

landlines on July 24, 2011 at 9:30 PM