WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a senior member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee, issued the following after the Senate voted to approve legislation to fund the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
“For our economy and for the American people, investing in our country’s physical infrastructure is one of the most important things that we can do beyond ensuring the safety and security of our nation. The bipartisan reauthorization bill passed by the Senate for the FAA continues the modernization of our nation’s aviation infrastructure and air traffic system, while also protecting passenger safety, security, consumer rights and privacy rights. While I wish the timeframe of this bill went beyond 2017, providing greater predictability to passengers and the aviation community, the authorization of increased federal investments in the America’s aviation infrastructure that are outlined in this bill reflect a commitment to improving safety in the air and on the ground.
“Maryland is a national leader in developing new technology for unmanned aircraft or drones, so I am pleased that this FAA reauthorization includes a requirement that federal agencies and the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) industry work together to develop safety standards to protect the public and ensure drones are operated in a safe manner. The bill also creates a pilot program to research and deploy technology to protect from errant or dangerous drones around airports and critical infrastructure, and to further enhance safety, it includes privacy standards, advances drone remote ID standards and requires all drone users to pass an FAA-approved online aeronautical knowledge test before operating a drone.
“The bill passed by the Senate Tuesday calls for increased infrastructure investment in airports and increases funding by $400 million for the airport improvement program (AIP). Maryland received approximately $60 million in AIP funds between FY15 and FY16 to expand and increase safety at BWI Marshall and airports across the state. Continued federal investment in BWI and all of Maryland’s airports reflects our commitment to maintaining safety and the health of our regional economy.”