T&I Committee Leaders Introduce Bipartisan FAA Reauthorization Legislation
Today, Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO), along with full Committee Ranking Member Rick Larsen (D-WA), Aviation Subcommittee Chairman Garret Graves (R-LA), and Aviation Subcommittee Ranking Member Steve Cohen (D-TN), introduced the Securing Growth and Robust Leadership in American Aviation Act, bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and aviation safety and infrastructure programs for the next five years.
Since the start of the 118th Congress, Chairman Sam Graves and the Committee have prioritized the passage of comprehensive FAA legislation, and today’s bill introduction follows a series of hearings this year on various aviation issues and the solicitation of input from Members of Congress and the aviation stakeholder community. The Securing Growth and Robust Leadership in American Aviation Act takes important steps to ensure the United States maintains its status as the “Gold Standard” in aviation safety, addresses airport infrastructure needs, and provides a number of provisions to improve and streamline FAA programs.
“For over a century, the United States has led the world in aviation safety and innovation, but our ‘Gold Standard’ status is being threatened by increasing global competition, rapid developments in technology, a shortage of aviation professionals, and FAA’s own inefficiency. Our bipartisan legislation will improve critical infrastructure for airports of all sizes, streamline the FAA bureaucracy, strengthen the nation’s general aviation sector, encourage the more rapid deployment of safe technological innovations, and address workforce challenges throughout the aviation system,” said Chairman Sam Graves. “Not only does this legislation provide long-term stability and funding for the FAA, it also authorizes the important safety work of the National Transportation Safety Board. I want to thank Ranking Member Rick Larsen, Aviation Subcommittee Chairman Garret Graves, and Subcommittee Ranking Member Steve Cohen for working with me to develop and introduce this bill, especially given our tight deadline for getting a bill to the President’s desk before the current FAA law expires in September.”
“The Securing Growth and Robust Leadership in American Aviation Act is a good faith bipartisan compromise that creates a safer, cleaner, greener, and more accessible U.S. aviation system. It transitions the nation to more sustainable fuels, makes a historic investment in the resiliency of our country’s airports, implements key safety measures, and bolsters accessibility and consumer protections for all passengers,” said Ranking Member Larsen. “This is also a jobs bill: it strengthens and diversifies the aviation workforce, recognizing that it is critical to our nation’s economic success. Moreover, it ensures the safe integration of new airspace entrants into U.S. skies to advance American innovation and cultivate good-paying jobs. I appreciate the partnership and collaboration of Chair Sam Graves, Subcommittee Chair Garret Graves, and Subcommittee Ranking Member Steve Cohen on delivering this bipartisan bill to secure the future of America’s aviation system.”
“The global aviation industry was born in America. This bill helps make sure it stays here, and our innovators continue to lead on aviation technology and convenience,” said Subcommittee Chairman Garret Graves. “The aviation legislation also helps to improve the customer experience for commercial passengers and will help to bring new technology for safer and more efficient management of our skies.”
“I am pleased to see a bipartisan FAA reauthorization bill coming out of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and have appreciated the opportunity to work with Chairman Graves, Ranking Member Larsen, and Chairman Graves on this transformative bill,” said Subcommittee Ranking Member Cohen. “If we stay on track, this will be the first time we pass the five-year bill on time, and I look forward to working together to advance this bill by the August recess. Our reauthorization legislation addresses several key priorities such as bolstering airport infrastructure investments, enhancing aviation safety, protecting consumers including those with disabilities, addressing resiliency, ensuring the safe operation and integration of unmanned aircraft systems and advanced air mobility, and improving the development of the aviation workforce, including in minority communities. I look forward to continuing to work on this important legislation and appreciate the input of our various stakeholders in our districts and across the nation.”
The full text of the introduced legislation can be found here.
In summary, the bill:
Improves FAA Efficiency and Operations
The bill makes targeted changes to the organizational structure of the FAA to improve overall efficiency of the agency, allow for innovation, and streamline the regulatory process. The bill does so in a manner that will not harm the FAA’s ongoing efforts while simultaneously ensuring the agency is better organized to lead in an advanced aviation future.
Strengthens America’s General Aviation (GA) Sector
Most of our aviation professionals, including pilots and mechanics, get their start in GA. This bill recognizes that the success of the United States aviation system is built upon a strong GA foundation and includes the first-ever general aviation title to secure our aviation industry’s long-term success.
Grows the Aviation Workforce
Our aviation system is experiencing a shortage of qualified workers, including pilots, mechanics, and air traffic controllers. This bill addresses workforce challenges by removing barriers to pursuing aviation careers, expanding the aviation workforce pipeline, improving training standards, and more.
Invests in United States Airport Infrastructure
Airports connect our communities, create jobs, and drive economic growth. The bill authorizes robust funding for airport infrastructure, including prioritizing investments for small and GA airports, and streamlining project delivery.
Upholds America’s Gold Standard in Safety
America’s aviation system is safe, but the system is not immune to stress and must continually be made safer. The bill addresses several safety issues, including the recent uptick in runway incursions, to ensure the United States, and the FAA, remain the world’s gold standard in aviation safety.
Encourages Aviation Innovation
America has been a leader in aviation innovation. Unfortunately, due to bureaucratic hurdles, endless research, and pilot programs that are not leading to the development and incorporation of new technologies, China and other countries are beginning to surpass the United States. The bill encourages the safe yet more efficient testing and integration of new technologies, such as drones and Advanced Air Mobility (AAM), into the airspace.
Enhances the Passenger Experience
While many parts of the aviation system typically function without incident despite a growing volume of travelers, one weak link in a trip can ruin a passenger’s experience. The bill delivers reforms that will enhance the experience for the traveling public.
Authorizes the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)
As the independent Federal agency responsible for investigating all civil aviation accidents, in addition to accidents in other modes of transportation, the NTSB plays an important role in transportation safety. Last authorized in the 2018 FAA Reauthorization Act, this bill provides updates to the NTSB’s authorization.