WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) today voted in favor of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, legislation that will provide long-term stability to an industry struggling in today’s economy. The multi-year reauthorization bill will improve aviation safety, modernize the nation’s air traffic control system, and make important investments in aviation infrastructure across the country. The bill was approved by the Senate this evening by a vote of 75-20.
“Air transportation in Kansas is essential for business attraction and retention,” Sen. Moran said. “This multi-year reauthorization provides much-needed stability in the aviation sector and will help make air travel safer and faster by modernizing the aviation industry. I am also pleased Congress once again rejected the user fee proposal, which would be devastating to the aviation community and our economy in south-central Kansas.”
The four year FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 most notably:
- addresses aviation safety and the quality of air service;
- accelerates implementation of the NextGen program, to move air traffic control from a ground-based system to a satellite-based system; and
- maintains funding for rural air services, which was eliminated under the original House bill.
Kansas is home to nearly 3,200 aviation and manufacturing businesses, including Cessna, Hawker-Beechcraft, Bombardier-Learjet, Spirit AeroSystems, Garmin, and Honeywell. Wichita was one of the first cities to establish a commitment to aircraft manufacturing, earning the title of “Air Capital of the United States” in the 1920s. When Congress began debating the FAA reauthorization bill nearly five years ago, more than 40,000 employees in Wichita and surrounding communities made their living building planes, manufacturing parts and servicing aviation. Unfortunately, due to difficult economic conditions, aviation related jobs have dropped to fewer than 25,000.
The FAA has operated under a series of 23 short-term extensions since 2007. The FAA Reauthorization would authorize $63.3 billion for FAA programs through 2015.