House Passes FAA Reauthorization, Invests in Critical Aviation Research & Development
(Washington, DC) – Members of the U.S. House of Representatives today passed H.R. 2881, the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2007, which includes a series of provisions authored by the Science and Technology Committee to enable the nation’s air transportation system to be able to handle the expected significant growth in future air travel demand over the next twenty years safely, efficiently, and in an environmentally friendly manner.
H.R. 2881 incorporates the provisions of H.R. 2698, the Federal Aviation Research and Development Reauthorization Act of 2007, introduced by Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee Chairman Mark Udall (D-CO). The Committee reported H.R. 2698 with strong bipartisan support on June 22nd.
“I am gratified that we have been able to work across party lines and committee boundaries to pass legislation that meet the needs of the American people on these important issues. I want to thank Members of both the Science & Technology Committee and the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee for their efforts to construct the bill passed by the House today,” said Udall. “H.R. 2881 addresses critical needs related to our Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) initiative and creates important new research initiatives, all of which will better position FAA to respond to emerging challenges.”
The measure authorizes $1.88 billion in research and development (R&D) funding for fiscal years 2008-2011. In addition, H.R. 2881 contains a number of important provisions to strengthen the Joint Planning and Development Office (JPDO) which is charged with managing the NextGen initiative. NextGen is a major redesign of the current air transportation system, which is increasingly inefficient and near capacity. NextGen will entail precision satellite navigation; digital, network communications; an integrated aviation weather system; and layered, adaptive security that will transform the way air traffic flows are managed.
“Robust investment in aviation infrastructure is crucial to increase air capacity and decrease fight delays. I am pleased that this bill provides for increased funding for a number of FAA capital programs, including the Airport Improvement Program (AIP),” Udall said.
H.R. 2881 also establishes an interagency research program under which the Federal Aviation Administration will work with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the U.S. Climate Change Science Program to better understand the impact of aviation on climate change.
Additional provisions of the R&D portions of the bill fund research on aviation noise and emissions reduction, aviation safety, and runway materials and engineered materials restraining systems. The legislation also extends the airport cooperative research program, promotes undergraduate research opportunities, and creates a multi-agency research program to study the impacts of space weather on aviation and air passengers.
“The nation's air transportation system is critical to our economic well-being, our international competitiveness, and our quality of life. I believe that H.R. 2881 will help maintain its continued vitality and safety,” Udall added.