Members of a House aviation panel yesterday criticized a Bush administration proposal to provide $2.75 billion for the Federal Aviation Administration's airport improvement program for fiscal 2009, a $765 million cut from the funds that were provided in 2008.

"Increasing investment in aviation infrastructure is necessary to enhance capacity and reduce delays and one way to achieve that goal is through new runways and runway extensions in this country," Rep. Jerry Costello, D-Ill., chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure aviation subcommittee, said at a hearing on the Bush FAA budget proposal. "The AIP levels set forth in the administration's fiscal 2009 proposal will not provide the investment needed to reduce congestion and delays."

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