Small airports across the country are set to receive critical funds for infrastructure, safety improvement projects and other needed upgrades, under legislation the U.S. Senate passed today and the U.S. House passed earlier this week to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
The bipartisan bill, now headed to the President’s desk, would reauthorize the FAA for 14-months and provide operating authority for U.S. aviation programs. It also includes important updates to laws covering airport security, drones, and traveler protections.
U.S. Senators Mike Enzi, John Barrasso and U.S. Representative Cynthia Lummis, all R-Wyo., praised the FAA bill for including a section that would help guarantee small airports access to Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funds. That language was originally introduced by the members earlier this year as the Small Airport Regulation Relief Act.
“Regional air service is continuing to struggle under federal regulations that make it harder to serve rural communities,” Enzi said. “It remains important that small airports are able to make investments in infrastructure that make them attractive to airlines and travelers alike. This legislation will provide the critical funds that small airports in Wyoming need to play a vital transportation role.”
“Rural communities in Wyoming and across the country know how critical it is to have access to commercial air service. Thanks to this bipartisan legislation, that service will not be in jeopardy,” Barrasso said. “The FAA extension act will also ensure airports across Wyoming continue to receive funding to improve rural airport infrastructure.”
“Rural airports in the west may be small, but they are critical for local economies and deserve our support,” Lummis said. “The legislation we secured in the 14-month extension of the Federal Aviation Administration authorization will ensure these local airports are not left out in the cold by one-size-fits-all federal regulations. I appreciate Representative Smith’s and Senators Enzi, Barrasso, and Fischer’s efforts on this issue and we will continue working to advance local and rural airports.”
The Small Airport Regulation Relief Act would ensure that airports seeing downturns in regional air service continue to receive AIP funds. Airports that reached 10,000 enplanements in 2012, before new federal pilot regulations took effect, will receive full AIP funding for Fiscal Year 2017.