Rockefeller outlines FAA bill

Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) said today that his new Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) authorization bill will be identical to one the Senate forcefully approved last year in a 93-0 vote. Rockefeller and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) say the FAA bill will be on the Senate floor next week.

Last year's bill, provided here, was a Senate amendment that replaced a House bill that would have imposed a tax on bonuses given to employees at entities that received TARP money. Despite the clear Senate preference for the bill, the House never approved it.

The bill would seek to modernize the U.S. air traffic system by setting deadlines for adopting new technologies, increasing air service to underserved regions of the United States, and improving airline safety.

The bill also includes language that Reid said is a "passengers bill of rights." For example, it would require airlines to give passengers the right to exit planes when they are delayed for more than three hours.