WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 27, 2018) – Eastern Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) released the following statement after the House passed the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 (H.R. 4), which includes three of her amendments to deliver results for Eastern Washington. This legislation authorizes the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for five years, serving as the first step in President Trump’s infrastructure package and providing needed reforms, long-term stability for the aviation industry, and continued investment in our airports.
“Strengthening our roads, bridges, and aviation is critical to support our national security and America’s growing economy,” said McMorris Rodgers. “That’s why I’m continuing to lead on rebuilding our infrastructure and supporting Eastern Washington’s airports. Today’s vote to reauthorize the FAA promotes aviation innovation, supports jobs here at home, and enhances the safety of Americans and their families when they travel. This marks an important step toward advancing President Trump’s infrastructure agenda, and I’m grateful to get important wins included for people here in Eastern Washington.”
McMorris Rodgers cosponsored Rep. Barbara Comstock’s amendment to remove what has been dubbed the “poison pill” language that would prohibit the appropriators from funding any of the FAA Environmental R&D funding before fully funding any other R&D programs. This will allow the Washington State University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) joint FAA Center of Excellence for Aviation, Biofuels, and the Environment to continue partnering with local businesses like Alaska Airlines, Boeing, and others.
“Washington State University is a long-time partner with our state’s aerospace industry and conducts collaborative research to address noise, emissions and produce other innovative technologies,” said Washington State University President Kirk Schulz. “We appreciate the commitment of our state’s congressional delegation to support aviation-based research and development and are grateful to the leadership of Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers on an amendment to protect WSU’s and MIT’s FAA Center of Excellence for Aviation Biofuels and the Environment. Because of this commitment, WSU and its research partners can continue to provide the necessary research to maintain and expand our state’s competitive edge in aerospace.”
Rep. McMorris Rodgers also introduced two amendments of her own. Her first amendment, Amendment 175, exempts Airports with more than 25,000 passenger enplanements in calendar year 2014 from any cost-share requirements under the contract tower program.
“This language will save Walla Walla Regional Airport approximately $90,000 per year,” said Port of Walla Walla Executive Direct Pat Reay. “We are grateful to Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers for fighting to include the Contract Tower Cost-Share amendment in the massive FAA reauthorization bill,” he continued. “Passage of this critical amendment gives the Port of Walla Walla new flexibility in the ways we are able to invest our limited funds in vital aviation improvements at Walla Walla Regional,” added Reay.
Her second amendment, Amendment 176, prohibits the elimination of the Contract Weather Observer program through 2023. Elimination of this program would have resulted in a decline in aviation safety for the more than 3 million passengers that use Spokane International Airport annually.
“The acceptance into the Manager’s Amendment of [Rep. McMorris Rodgers’s] proposed amendment to protect the Contract Weather Observation/Observer (CWO) program is critical to maintaining aviation safety at Spokane International Airport, and we very much appreciate [her] efforts to ensure that the CWO program is continued to 2023,” said Larry Krauter, Chief Executive Officer of Spokane International Airport.
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