House Passes FAA Reauthorization, Includes Davis' FEMA Reform Legislation
U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) today released this statement after the House passed H.R. 302, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act of 2018, which also includes the Disaster Declaration Improvement Act, by a bipartisan vote of 398-23.
“We passed this aviation infrastructure bill with overwhelming support from both parties and a commitment from the Senate to do the same,” 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 my Disaster Declaration Improvement Act, we also help communities mitigate disaster and help make FEMA’s disaster declaration process fairer for rural communities in states like Illinois.”
Highlights from H.R. 302 include:
Protects rural access to aviation
-Empowers small and rural communities to make more decisions about their air service by providing meaningful community involvement.
-Fully reauthorizes and improves the widely successful Contract Tower Program, which both the Central Illinois Regional Airport and Decatur Airport participate in. While contract towers control 28% of all air traffic, they only account for 14% of the FAA’s air traffic operations costs.
-Restores the Airport Improvement Program to 2011 funding levels, ensuring continued investment in our nation’s airports, and authorizes the additional $1 billion for AIP included in the FY 2018 Consolidated Appropriations Act.
-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 new discriminatory 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.
Prioritizes Passenger Needs
-Prohibits involuntary bumping of passengers once they have already boarded a plane.
-Makes fees and taxes more transparent.
-Establishes the position of Aviation Consumer Advocate at the Department of Transportation to help consumer resolve their air travel issues.
-Sets new requirements for airlines to promptly return fees for services that are purchased but not received.
-Requires sanitary, private rooms for nursing mothers in all large and medium commercial airports
-Requires the Department of Transportation to review airline policies for traveling during pregnancy.
-Addresses issues important to consumers with disabilities, including airport accessibility, restroom accessibility, and the establishment of an advisory committee for passengers with disabilities
-Included in this package is Davis’ bill, the Disaster Declaration Improvement Act, which requires FEMA to place greater consideration on the severe localized impact of damage following a disaster. Under current law, FEMA takes into account several factors when determining the need for assistance, but there is no standard to determine which factor is more important than another. This provision will help level the playing field for rural communities in downstate Illinois when disasters happen.