Senate Committee Passes 5-Year Senate FAA Reauthorization Bill, $20 Billion in Airport Improvement Grants

February 9, 2024|

By KERRY SMITH

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Feb. 8, the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation passed the bipartisan Senate Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act of 2023.

The legislation includes several provisions to strengthen safety standards and oversight at the FAA and responds to safety concerns from recent aviation accidents and near-misses.

The bill is aimed at strengthening aviation safety and the safety workforce. It requires the FAA to beef up staffing to close the current gap of some 3,000 needed traffic controllers nationwide. It also provides funding to hire some 20 percent more FAA safety inspectors.

Of the more than $107 billion total authorization, $20 billion is dedicated to FAA airport improvement grants to support more than 3,300 airports across the U.S. and promote a sustainable and resilient infrastructure to meet increasing demand and integration of emerging technologies.

Other funding categories include: $67.5 billion for FAA operations to fund key safety programs from aircraft certification reform to air carrier oversight; $18.2 billion for FAA facilities and equipment to fund the modernization of key technologies, systems and equipment; and $1.8 billion for FAA research, engineering and development to help the U.S. remain competitive in the global race for innovative and sustainable aerospace technology.

Specifically, funding in the FAA Reauthorization bill is aimed at improving aviation safety by:

  • Mandating 25-hour cockpit voice recording technologies
  • Stopping runway close calls
  • Enhancing aircraft certification reforms
  • Raising the international safety bar for airline operations
  • Strengthening the FAA’s oversight of foreign repair stations
  • Building FAA global aviation safety leadership
  • Protecting against cyber security threats to aircraft
  • Updating air tour and helicopter safety requirements
  • Tracking high-altitude balloons
  • Improving cabin air safety

Information provided by the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation

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