Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, supported the approval of the bipartisan 2017 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization bill out of committee, moving it one-step closer to becoming law. The Senator’s work helped pass legislation that promotes Nevada’s aviation initiatives and programs that support America’s air infrastructure and competitiveness. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act of 2017 reauthorizes FAA authorities and activities for fiscal years 2018 through 2021.
“This legislation will ensure we continue to provide the proper support for our aviation infrastructure – vital contributors to Nevada’s and our country’s economic growth and success,” said Cortez Masto. “The aviation sector is a main driver of Nevada’s economy and integral piece of our booming travel and tourism industry. As a member of the Commerce Committee, I am pleased to help support the entire aviation sector by improving safety, diversifying our economy and ensuring the efficiency of the traveling public and cargo.”
Specifically, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act of 2017 provides $400 million in additional annual funding to aid in the improvement and expansion of our air infrastructure, for a total of $3.75 billion each year. This includes investments in our rural communities through FAA’s support on everything from investing in airport construction projects, to providing assistance with air traffic control safety functions. The bill also enhances consumer protections for the traveling public, expands the nation’s development of drone safety and innovation, and increases safety standards and requirements for air operations of all sizes.
The FAA bill includes measures from legislation introduced and co-sponsored by Cortez Masto, such as the bipartisan Safe DRONE Act, which advances the development, integration, and safety standards for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), and the TICKETS Act, which increases protections for air travelers. Specific other provisions championed by Cortez Masto in the FAA bill will:
- Provide a five year extension of the FAA Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) test and research sites that are driving innovation, like that in Nevada;
- Establish Community and Technical College Centers of Excellence in Small Unmanned Aircraft System technology training;
- Remedy a legal challenge over FAA safety registration of UAS devices throughout the country;
- Authorize annual funding for FAA’s “Know Before You Fly” campaign to ensure awareness and education as a fundamental aspect of UAS use;
- Reinforce the expedited waiver process where UAS technology can help in emergency and disaster situations;
- Research concerns regarding illegal charter air service operations that put air safety at risk;
- Accelerate consideration of FAA contract tower approval for the Boulder City, NV airport; and
- Address the unacceptable expansion of negative overbooking policies of airlines, guarantee that a boarded passenger has the right to fly, address compensation limits for ticket-holding travelers, improve transparency, and review ticket over-selling practices.