Chairman Graves in The Washington Times: Bipartisan FAA Bill Maintains America’s Aviation Gold Standard
Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO) published an opinion piece in The Washington Times touting the benefits of H.R. 3935, the Securing Growth and Robust Leadership in American Aviation Act, a bill to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and aviation safety and infrastructure programs for the next five years.
The bipartisan legislation is being considered in the House of Representatives today, and was introduced on June 9th by Chairman Graves, T&I Committee Ranking Member Rick Larsen (D-WA), Aviation Subcommittee Chairman Garret Graves (R-LA), and Aviation Subcommittee Ranking Member Steve Cohen (D-TN). On June 14th, it was approved by the Committee in a unanimous 63-0 vote.
This week, the House of Representatives is considering H.R. 3935, the Securing Growth and Robust Leadership in American Aviation Act. Introduced on June 9 by the Republican and Democratic leaders of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Aviation Subcommittee, this critical bipartisan legislation reauthorizes the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and aviation safety and infrastructure programs for the next five years.
Since the beginning of this Congress, my top legislative priority as the Committee Chairman has been the passage of comprehensive aviation legislation, and the bill unanimously approved by the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee followed a series of hearings this year on various aviation issues and the solicitation of input from Members of Congress and the broad aviation stakeholder community.
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.
Simply put, the Securing Growth and Robust Leadership in American Aviation Act addresses these issues and is critical to keeping America the global leader in aviation. It’s vital to our economy, to millions of jobs, and to the 850 million passengers that depend on our aviation system every year.
Specifically, the bill makes targeted changes to the organizational structure of the FAA bureaucracy to improve overall efficiency and allow for innovation to flourish all in a manner that will not harm the FAA’s ongoing regulatory efforts while simultaneously ensuring the agency is better organized to lead in an advanced aviation future.
Our legislation also takes important steps to strengthen 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 GA title to secure our aviation industry’s long-term success.
We also work to address our aviation system’s shortage of qualified workers, including pilots, mechanics, and air traffic controllers. This legislation removes barriers to pursuing aviation careers, expands the aviation workforce pipeline, improves training standards, and more.
Airports connect our communities, create jobs, and drive economic growth in a way that no other mode of transportation can. If you build a mile of road, you can travel a mile, but if you build a runway, you can go anywhere in the world. That is why H.R. 3395 authorizes robust funding for airport infrastructure, including prioritizing investments for small and GA airports, and streamlining project delivery.
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 Securing Growth and Robust Leadership in American Aviation Act encourages the safe yet more efficient testing and integration of new technologies, such as drones and Advanced Air Mobility (AAM), into the airspace.
Enhancing the experience for the 850 million aviation passengers each year is another focal point of this legislation. 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.
Finally, as previously mentioned, America has long been the gold standard in aviation safety. While our aviation system remains safe, the system is not immune to stress and must always and continually be made safer. Our bill addresses important safety issues, including the recent uptick in runway incursions and a full reauthorization of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), to ensure the United States and the FAA remain the world’s gold standard in aviation safety.
This legislation is vital to the future of aviation in America, and I look forward to working with the Senate to send the bill to the President’s desk before the current law expires in September.
U.S. Representative Sam Graves, Missouri Republican, is the Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and a professional pilot. His leadership on transportation policy has been instrumental to improve America’s highways, bridges, airports, waterways, ports and other infrastructure. He represents Missouri’s Sixth Congressional District, which includes the Missouri and the Mississippi Rivers as well as 34,000 highway miles and 10,400 bridges in need of maintenance and repairs.