Rosen Provisions Would Ensure Nevada Airports Maintain Access To Key Funding, Strengthen Airport Security, And Improve Critical Infrastructure Inspections With Drone Technology
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen, a member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, announced that five of her provisions have been unanimously adopted and included in the FY24 Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization, which advanced out of committee with bipartisan support.
Senator Rosen’s adopted amendments include her bipartisan Drone Infrastructure Inspection Grant Act to help utilize drone technology to inspect critical infrastructure and her bipartisan Dependable Airport Classification Act to help provide more certainty to small-to-medium-sized airports, like Reno-Tahoe International Airport, about their access to federal funding. Also included was a Rosen-led provision to strengthen airport security that would require the FAA to consider additional security concerns when determining the threat buildings around airports like Harry Reid International Airport pose to airline safety.
“Nevada’s airports are critical for our tourism economy, and I’m working to deliver the resources and funding they need,” said Senator Rosen. “I’m proud to help advance critical bipartisan legislation out of committee that includes my provisions to provide increased funding and security for airports across our state, while strengthening consumer protections for airline passengers.”
Rosen-led provisions in the FY24 FAA Reauthorization include:
- Protecting Airports From Threats Posed By Nearby Building Construction: Requires the FAA to consider additional threats to air safety from construction and buildings near large airports such as Harry Reid International Airport. Threats include active shooters, thrown objects, drones, or laser pointers coming from rooftops.
- Using Drone Technology to Inspect Critical Infrastructure: Authorizes $50 million in grants to help local governments fund more opportunities to use American-made drones to inspect and maintain critical infrastructure or construction projects. This provision is based on Rosen’s bipartisan Drone Infrastructure Inspection Grant Act introduced with Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT).
- Strengthening Airline Passenger Consumer Protection: Adds ticket agents to the Department of Transportation’s Aviation Consumer Protection Advisory Committee. Ticket agents sell roughly half of all tickets in the United States, have significant expertise on airfare, and play a major role in the Nevada tourism economy.
- Ensuring Airports Maintain Access To Funding: Gives newly reclassified medium-sized airports a five-year window to choose if they want to keep their small-hub airport classification to continue accessing the same level of federal funding. Under current federal law, an airport like Reno-Tahoe International Airport that goes from being classified as a small-sized airport to a medium-sized airport can often see a significant drop in federal funding, with only a small increase in revenue. This provision to maintain funding certainty is based on Rosen’s bipartisan Dependable Airport Classification Act introduced with Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN).
- Supporting Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Test Range In Reno: Authorizes an additional $14 million for the next five years for UAS test ranges, including in Reno, to help the United States develop cutting edge systems to enhance the safety and success of civilian drone operations.
Senator Rosen has been a champion for Nevada’s airports by making sure they have the resources they need to meet the growing demand for travel to the state. She recently announced that airports across Nevada would receive nearly $61 million in federal funding. During a visit to Reno-Tahoe Airport, Senator Rosen urged the Department of Transportation to stand ready to receive the airport’s application for federal funds for a terminal expansion project. Senator Rosen also secured $31 million for terminal improvements at Harry Reid International Airport from the Airport Terminal Program of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law she helped draft and pass into law.