The massive $1 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is generally drawing praise from the industry for its support of aviation, including $25 billion that would be dedicated to airports and air traffic control equipment.
The bill, which appears headed to a vote on Saturday, has been under debate this week as the Senate sorted through hundreds of potential amendments. But Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) is pushing to cut off further debate during a rare weekend session that would come before the Senate is set to break for August.
One potential amendment that the National Air Transportation Association had been watching was an effort by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) to attach his legislation that would facilitate flight sharing. NATA president Tim Obitts said a coalition of aviation groups voiced their objections this week and the “issue seems unlikely to progress further.”
Aviation groups were pleased, however, that the package includes a number of other measures supporting general aviation infrastructure, future transportation advancements, and workforce initiatives. Specifically, the bill contains a provision to dedicate up to $500 million a year to general aviation and non-primary airports over a five-year period. Obitts said NATA was also pleased by a similar measure calling for $20 million for contract towers.
NBAA further was encouraged by the inclusion of the Promoting Service in Transportation Act to enable the Department of Transportation to promote transportation jobs through targeted broadcast, digital, and public service announcements. “We are pleased to see this important initiative move forward as part of the bipartisan infrastructure bill,” said NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen.
NBAA also supported a Strengthening Mobility and Revolutionizing Transportation Grant Program authorizing $100 million in funding over the next five years for cities to conduct demonstration projects for “smart city technologies” to improve transportation efficiency and safety.