U.S. House Bill Seen as Aviation Boon, Housing Bane

The U.S. House this week narrowly passed a transportation and housing spending bill that Alaska Congressman Don Young says includes programs important to Alaska aviation.

The bill de-funds a controversial FAA hiring test. Among its critics are graduates of UAA’s Collegiate Training Initiative, who say the test hurts their chances of getting FAA jobs.

Young says he also helped defeat an amendment to de-fund Essential Air Service. That $260 million program subsidizes airlines for transportation to 44 Alaska communities, and to scores of Lower 48 towns. Airlines serving Alaska are slated to receive $15.5 million through the program this year.

The White House says the spending bill short-changes homeless programs and transit. The administration says some 60 Alaska families would lose Housing Choice vouchers if the bill becomes law.

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Liz Ruskin covers Alaska issues in Washington as the network's D.C. correspondent. She was born in Anchorage and is a West High grad. She has degrees from the University of Washington and the University of Missouri School of Journalism in Columbia. She previously worked at the Homer News, the Anchorage Daily News and the Washington bureau of McClatchy Newspapers. She also freelanced for several years from the U.K. and Japan, in print and radio. Liz has been APRN’s Washington, D.C. correspondent since October 2013. She welcomes your news tips at lruskin (at) alaskapublic (dot) org  | About Liz