Senate panel announces hearing on airport trust fund

The Senate Finance Committee announced it will hold a hearing Thursday exploring the Airport and Airway Trust Fund and its impact on job creation.

The announcement comes days after President Obama called on Congress to "redouble" the government's investment in infrastructure as a key component to improving America's competitiveness globally.

Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) backs a long-term extension to the trust fund, which provides the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) with funds for most of its programs and activities.

With job creation being a focal point for so much of lawmakers' work, the transportation hearing also will include an employment angle. The committee's announcement pointed out that projects funded by the trust fund create new jobs, with the Transportation Department estimating 35,000 jobs are supported by every $1 billion spent on transportation projects.

The Senate previously passed an FAA reauthorization bill in 2010, but that measure died when the 111th Congress adjourned at the end of the year. Before the trust fund can be reauthorized, the 112th Congress will have to pass new legislation.

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