Rosen Helps Pass Bipartisan Aviation Package with Several Rosen-led Provisions 

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 helped pass the bipartisan FY24 Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization, which included six of her provisions to ensure Nevada airports maintain access to key funding, strengthen security, and improve critical infrastructure inspections with drone technology. This bipartisan aviation package is critical for Nevada’s airports and the travel and tourism industry, which is a key sector of the state’s economy. As a member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, Senator Rosen was instrumental in advancing this important legislation for Nevada. It now heads to the House of Representatives. 

Senator Rosen’s provisions include her bipartisan Drone Infrastructure Inspection Grant Act to help utilize drone technology to inspect critical infrastructure and language based on 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 in this legislation 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 aviation safety.

“Nevada’s airports are critical for our local travel and tourism economy,” said Senator Rosen. “That’s why I’ve been focused on passing a robust, bipartisan aviation reauthorization package that includes my provisions to protect key funding for Nevada’s airports and strengthen security. I’ll keep working across party lines to invest in our tourism economy.”

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 aviation safety from construction of buildings near large airports such as Harry Reid International Airport. Threats include active shooters, thrown objects, drones, or laser pointers coming from rooftops. Senator Rosen secured this provision in committee as an amendment.
  • 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).
  • Ensuring Airports Maintain Access To Funding: Increases the amount of airport infrastructure funding medium-sized airports like Reno-Tahoe International Airport can keep and gives newly reclassified medium-sized airports a three-year transition window to continue accessing the same high 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 and increase funding overall is based in part on Rosen’s bipartisan Dependable Airport Classification Act that she introduced with Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN).
  • Protects Public Gatherings and Special Events from Drones: Authorizes FAA to temporarily restrict drone flights over public gatherings and special events in order to give law enforcement and event organizers the clear authority to protect the public at sporting events, festivals, concerts, and other live entertainment events. Senator Rosen led a bipartisan group of Senators in pushing committee leaders to include this provision in the final bill.
  • Supporting Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Test Range In Reno: Authorizes $6 million per year through Fiscal Year 2028 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. This provision is based on an amendment Senator Rosen passed in committee.
  • Strengthening Airline Passenger Consumer Protection: Requires the Department of Transportation’s Aviation Consumer Protection Advisory Committee to consult ticket agents on key matters. 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. This provision is based on an amendment Senator Rosen passed in committee.