U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., today applauded the Senate passage of legislation to reauthorize federal aviation programs for five years and modernize airport infrastructure, improve service for passengers, enhance safety and boost aviation industry innovation. The measure passed by a vote of 93-6.
The Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act of 2018, H.R.302, would authorize funding for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for five years through fiscal year 2023. It also includes reauthorizations for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), and the U.S. Coast Guard’s maritime security operations. In addition, the legislation includes a down payment of $1.68 billion in assistance to communities affected by Hurricane Florence.
The bill also incorporates the BUILD Act, legislation cosponsored by Isakson and passed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee earlier this year that modernizes our government’s development finance programs and counters China’s predatory financing practices in developing countries.
“Georgia is home to the world’s most traveled airport as well as more than 100 national, regional and local airports, nine of which offer regularly scheduled commercial airline service. A five-year reauthorization of our federal aviation programs means a lot for citizens traveling to and from our Georgia airports, and will likewise benefit manufacturers and the industry as a whole,” said Isakson. “This important legislation includes needed reforms to help improve the flying experience for Americans and give states flexibility to prioritize needs. It also cuts down regulatory burdens for manufacturers and helps keep our airspace safe, which will benefit Georgia’s more than 800 aerospace industries. I look forward to President Trump signing it into law soon.”
Highlights of the bill include:
Modernizing airport infrastructure
Authorizes further funding for airport development.
Increases flexibility for states to finance projects.
Requires the TSA to make available, in airports and online, real-time information on security line waits.
Improving service for the flying public
Prohibits involuntary bumping of passengers who have already boarded.
Directs FAA to set minimum standards for airline seat sizes.
Requires private rooms for nursing mothers in large and medium airports.
Ensures airlines promptly return fees for services (seat assignments, early boarding, etc.) not received.
Enhancing safety and security
Strengthens aviation training, reporting, tracking and cybersecurity.
Provides new risk-mitigation authorities against unlawful use of unmanned aircraft systems.
Authorizes more canine security teams and, to meet demand, expands the training and certification process for dogs.
Streamlines certifications for design and delivery of aircraft to boost competitiveness of aviation manufacturing.
Furthers efforts to safely integrate unmanned aircraft into the airspace through traffic management system advancements and research.
Creates an Office of Spaceports to support licensing and promote infrastructure improvements.
Authorizes potential approval for new civil supersonic aircraft that reduce sonic booms.
Provides $1.68 billion in supplemental appropriations for disaster relief in the wake of Hurricane Florence.
Reforms Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) programs to help communities better prepare for and respond to disasters of all types.
In addition, passengers with disabilities would see increased protections under a new “bill of rights” document that includes rights to travel with dignity, bring and stow assistive devices and medication, receive timely assistance and seating accommodations and to file complaints. Air carriers would also be required to train employees about the responsibilities and protections in the document.
The legislation previously passed the U.S. House by a vote of 398-23 on Sept. 26. It now moves to the president to be signed into law.