U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) today released this statement after the House passed H.R. 4, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act, which also includes the Disaster Recovery Reform Act, by a bipartisan vote of 393-13.
“We passed this aviation infrastructure bill with overwhelming support from both parties. I hope it’s a sign that we will be able to the same with an infrastructure bill to fix our roads and bridges,” said Davis. “This bill helps update our aviation laws to reflect advancements in technology, prioritizes the needs of airline passengers, and protects rural communities’ access to our aviation system. With the addition of the Disaster Recovery Reform Act, we also help communities mitigate disaster and also helps make FEMA’s disaster declaration process fairer for rural communities in states like Illinois.”
Highlights from H.R. 4 include:
Protects rural access to aviation
-Empowers small and rural communities to make more decisions about their air service by providing meaningful community involvement.
-Protects and strengthens the Contract Tower Program by no longer making contract towers, like those in Bloomington-Normal and Decatur, at risk of closure during a government shutdown.
-Restores the Airport Improvement Program to 2011 funding levels, ensuring continued investment in our nation’s airports.
-Continues the Essential Air Service (EAS) program to ensure communities, like Decatur, are served by commercial air carriers.
-Includes Davis’ amendment to ensure that discriminatory taxes levied at airports are used solely for airport purposes. This would prevent cities and states from levying a tax on a specific industry operating at an airport and diverting that revenue to a project outside of the airport, such as a stadium or a convention center.
Updates to micro drone laws
-Includes Davis’ amendment to create an aviation rulemaking committee to provide recommendations to the FAA for creating a classification for micro drones, those weighing 4.4 pounds or less (including payload). This would ensure the operators of these low-risk systems are not regulated the same way as someone operating a drone weighing 55 pounds. Under existing regulations, both are treated essentially the same.
Prioritizes Passenger Needs
-Prohibits involuntary bumping of passengers once they have already boarded a plane.
-Makes fees and taxes more transparent.
-When consumers have complaints about their flying experience, this bill will allow them to call a hot-line or use an app on their smart phone.
-Included in this package is Davis’ bill, the Disaster Declaration Improvement Act, which requires FEMA to place greater weight and consideration on the severe localized impact of damage following a disaster.