Following months of delay, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation has approved an amended version of a five-year reauthorization of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) programs and funding.
The bipartisan Senate bill (S. 1939) satisfies several ACEC priorities. It provides $4 billion annually for the Airport Improvement Program, an increase of $650 million annually above current levels. It also authorizes a new grant program for airports to dispose of PFAS, creates a new grant program for capital projects to upgrade the accessibility of commercial service airports for people with disabilities, and establishes a pilot program for the voluntary use of integrated project delivery contracts.
The committee adopted an amendment to add a $300 million annual grant program for the planning, design, and construction of airport projects that improve their resilience and reduce vulnerability to climate change, extreme weather events, and natural disasters.
The bill facilitates additional commercial use of unmanned aircraft (UAS) by directing the FAA to establish a pathway for beyond visual line-of-sight operations and creating two additional test sites for companies to start testing UAS for other operations.
Click here for a summary of the bill from the committee.
The House approved its FAA Reauthorization bill in June 2023. A final version needs to be negotiated and passed prior to the expiration of the current short-term extension on March 8.