Building a 21st Century Infrastructure for America: Federal Aviation Administration Authorization
2167 Rayburn House Office Building
This is a hearing of the Full Committee.
Summary of Subject Matter
Shuster and LoBiondo Opening Statements
Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA)
We could not be discussing a more important aspect of our Nation’s infrastructure this morning. A long-term, comprehensive FAA authorization and reform bill is critical to bringing our infrastructure into the 21st century.
We’ve held a number of hearings this year to prepare for an FAA bill, and getting input about the administration’s priorities is another critical step in the process.
On Monday, some of my colleagues and I joined Secretary Chao as the President announced his support and principles for air traffic control reform.
As you know, this reform is vital to the future of our aviation system – but our FAA bill will address many much-needed reforms of the agency.
We need certification reform so that our manufacturers can compete on the world stage. We need to ensure we don’t stymie innovation in new and emerging aviation sectors – like drones and commercial space travel. We need to improve our airport infrastructure across the country. We need to ensure the safety of the system and the fair treatment of the flying public.
Without bold action, America will without a doubt fall behind other nations in aviation. It’s time for this Committee and for Congress to act, and I look forward to working with the Secretary as we do that.
Chairman Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ)
We are living in a most exciting time for commercial aviation. New users and new technologies are making their way into our airspace and the rapid increase in air travel will soon push us over the threshold of one billion passengers per year.
In order to ensure that the United States remains at the forefront of aviation innovation, technology, and most importantly safety, it is imperative that Congress pass a multi-year, forward-thinking FAA Reauthorization bill that advances the FAA’s programs and policies.
Critical to the FAA’s modernization efforts is the cutting-edge research and development done by the men and women of the FAA Technical Center located in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey. This is the premier aviation research and development center and I have the honor of representing it in Congress.
From pavement testing to lithium battery research, the work done at the Tech Center has developed and validated new technologies that have saved lives and makes our aviation system the safest in the world.
Today, the unique labs at the Tech Center are focused on 21st century challenges such as UAS integration and cybersecurity efforts to protect the NAS. The current construction of the Stockton Aviation Research and Technology Park adjacent to the Tech Center will compliment those efforts, bringing private companies into direct and daily contact with the labs and personnel at the Tech Center.
I am proud and humbled by these employees and the amazing work they do to support safety and help develop technology with experts across the aviation industry. I feel confident in saying that anyone who has flown has benefitted from the innovation and expertise of the Tech Center.
I want to see their hard work better utilized and more efficiently integrated into our aviation system. But, due to restrictions and decisions by FAA Headquarters here in Washington, their efforts and expertise cannot be fully leveraged.
Similarly, unreliable funding, sequestration, government shutdowns, and political dysfunction do not allow us to develop the 21st century aviation system we need today.
If we continue on our current path, we will fall behind other countries and lose our status as the world’s leader in aviation. More importantly for the good men and women at the FAA’s Technical Center, their critical work and expertise will not be fully appreciated or utilized.
We must get out from under current Washington dysfunction; ensure stable funding for major, multi-year capital investments in our system; and unleash the expertise and innovation currently encumbered by Washington bureaucracy.
I want to thank Secretary Chao for being here today to testify before the Committee and thank you for your leadership at this critical juncture. I look forward to hosting you up at the FAA Technical Center so that you can see firsthand the cutting-edge work being done.
For additional background information, recent editorials from major newspapers around the country have recently written in support of transformational FAA reform, including: