President Donald Trump Friday afternoon signed into law the sweeping FAA bill, providing one of the longest reauthorization periods for the agency since the 1980s and addressing a range of aviation issues. The enactment of the legislation into law came as the agency’s authorization was set to expire on Friday under a one-week extension that Congress approved in late September. It also followed last week’s 93-6 Senate approval and House passage in late September by a 398-23 vote.
“Because of this bill, our economy and passengers will benefit as airport construction projects will move forward, aviation manufacturing gets a boost, and passengers will gain new legal protections during the experience of air travel,” said Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune (R-South Dakota), noting that the last time an aviation reauthorization bill spanned at least five years was 1982.
Both Thune and House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pennsylvania) were on hand for the signing ceremony, as was Shuster’s father, Bud Shuster, who led the T& I committee from 1995 to 2000 and had steered through his own legislation. “Being able to stand in the Oval Office alongside my father, who once chaired the same committee that I now chair, while the President of the U.S. signs into law a major piece of infrastructure legislation is an incredible honor,” said the younger Shuster, who is set to retire from Congress at the end of the year.
The signing of the bill into law drew praise from the FAA, which said the five-year bill “authorizes the reliable, predictable funding the FAA needs to invest in…critical priorities." General aviation groups also joined the many aviation organizations lauding the signing of the bill into law.
“It’s now time to get to work on executing these important initiatives that contribute to the safety and modernization of our nation’s air transportation system,” said Gary Dempsey, president of the National Air Transportation Association.