A bipartisan FAA Reauthorization bill has been introduced in the 118th Congress. Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO-6) of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, along with Ranking Member Rick Larsen (D-WA), Chairman Garret Graves (R-LA) of the Aviation Subcommittee, and Ranking Member Steve Cohen (D-TN) of the Aviation Subcommittee, jointly introduced H.R. 3935, known as the Securing Growth and Robust Leadership in American Aviation Act. This bipartisan legislation aims to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as well as aviation safety and infrastructure programs for the upcoming five years. The proposed act reflects a collective effort to ensure the continuity and effectiveness of essential aviation initiatives, emphasizing the commitment to fostering growth and maintaining strong leadership within the American aviation industry.

Under the leadership of Chairman Sam Graves, the Committee has placed significant importance on advancing comprehensive legislation concerning the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) since the commencement of the 118th Congress. The recent introduction of the Securing Growth and Robust Leadership in American Aviation Act is a result of a series of hearings held this year, focusing on various aviation matters, as well as active engagement with Members of Congress and the broader aviation stakeholder community to gather their valuable input. This proposed act represents a crucial step in safeguarding the United States’ position as the global benchmark for aviation safety. It also addresses the pressing needs of airport infrastructure and incorporates provisions aimed at enhancing and streamlining FAA programs to ensure optimal efficiency.

“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.”

Securing Growth and Robust Leadership in American Aviation Act Summary

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.

If you’d like to read the text of the entire bill, you can access it here.

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Post Image- Passenger jet departs Tampa International Airport (Image Credit- Adobe Stock by Michael O’Keene)