In a decade, nearly a billion Americans will travel by air each year. Those families deserve first-rate infrastructure that provides them with the best, safest experience possible. That’s why today, the House will begin taking up a reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)—the first long-term reauthorization package since 2012.  

This initiative is the latest in our ongoing efforts to upgrade America’s infrastructure. The recent government funding bill included $21.2 billion in new funding for long-overdue infrastructure improvements, including resources to improve airports. Earlier this month, federal agencies initiated reforms based on tools provided by Congress to expedite critical projects. This FAA package continues that progress. 

Here are five reasons the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 is the right, needed way to reauthorize FAA programs:

  1. Bolsters Aviation Infrastructure: As part of our infrastructure initiative, this bill puts long-term, stable funding toward rebuilding our nation’s airports. By reauthorizing FAA programs for five years, it provides members of the aviation industry the certainty needed to focus on improvements, undertake major projects, and operate most efficiently.
  2. Restores Competitiveness for the U.S. Aviation Industry: The aviation industry supports 11.3 million jobs and generates $1.5 trillion in economic activity. It’s an engine for our economy. But American manufacturers and developers are being held back by slow FAA certification times and convoluted bureaucracy that is stifling innovation. The FAA Reauthorization Act implements reforms and creates a new committee to address these issues, ensuring businesses in the American aviation industry can produce the most advanced products and compete in the global market. 
  3. Enhances Flight Experience and Safety for American Travelers: This bill prioritizes American travelers by increasing transparency and options for consumers. Through improved safety workforce training and stronger voluntary reporting programs, among other things, the bill will also ensure America continues to have the safest aviation system in the world.
  4. Strengthens Disaster Relief: The package includes the Disaster Recovery Reform Act, bipartisan legislation that reforms federal disaster relief programs and bolsters resources for disaster mitigation so that communities are prepared for hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes, and other events. The bill focuses on preparing communities on the front end to lessen the impact of crises, aid recovery, and spend taxpayer dollars most efficiently.
  5. Responsibly Integrates Unmanned Aircraft Systems: America is leading the way in developing unmanned aircraft systems. This bill will modernize the FAA by implementing processes to evaluate and integrate this new technology safely into the National Airspace System, while continuing to allow for flexibility and innovation.  

This bill secures important, long-term investment in one of the cornerstones of our nation’s infrastructure. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) said it best: “Our aviation system is essential to our economy and to the American way of life.”