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Florida Rep. touts FAA grant to his district months after shutdown

Think Progress is reporting that just months after playing a lead role in the temporary shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration, Rep. John Mica is now touting an FAA grant awarded to his district. Mica, R-Winter Park, played a critical role in the recent FAA shutdown when he failed to support a provision in the FAA reauthorization bill to make it easier for airport employees to unionize. As the head of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Mica got the lion’s share of the blame for the shutdown, and was lambasted when he said he had used his vote as a “bargaining tool” to gain the support of Senate Democrats.

Eventually, Mica said he was willing to compromise on the bill, and a recent press release sent out by his team shows that he is fully supportive of an FAA grant given to his district. In late September, the administration awarded the Orlando Sanford International Airport, which lies in Mica’s district, a $10.6 million grant to assist in the purchase of land needed to expand a runway.

“Orlando Sanford International Airport is a significant contributor to the local economy of Seminole County,” said Mica in his release. “By acquiring the land to improve and expand the runway at the airport, we can bring in newer quieter passenger aircraft and improve safety. This will further allow us to expand business and economic activity at the airport, creating more jobs for the region.”

Larry Dale, president and CEO of the airport, said he appreciates Mica’s assistance in securing the grant, adding that the congressman has “repeatedly been a good friend to the growth of this airport and to all the transportation needs of Central Florida.”

In recent months, Mica has proposed slashing transportation funds in a move he said would save money. His proposed transportation bill would have cut about 20 percent from the last transportation bill, which was signed by President Bush in 2005.

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