CHICAGO -- Rating agency officials are breathing sighs of relief after a controversial provision was dropped from a recently passed federal aviation bill, but they warn that the legislation still contains elements that could be harmful to airports.

The Airport Improvement Program authorization bill, which is expected to be signed by President Clinton by next Tuesday, does not contain a provision that would have required any airport fees disputed by airlines to be placed in an escrow account for 120 days or until the dispute was resolved.

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