July 13, 2016

Manchin Applauds Final Passage of FAA Reauthorization

Washington, D.C. – As a member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) today applauded the passage of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Bill, which extends the FAA authority through September 2017. Included in the bipartisan, bicameral bill are provisions important to West Virginia such as increased security at transportation hubs and protections to ensure small, rural communities maintain essential air service. 

“As a pilot, I have always been passionate about the issues that affect the aviation community, and I’m happy this important reauthorization is on its way to the President’s desk,” Senator Manchin said. “Reliable air service has allowed businesses in our state to expand their reach beyond our borders, and I am pleased that protecting and promoting service to rural communities is included in the final bill. This important legislation will also increase security at transportation hubs across the country and will give our local first responders more flexibility to respond to new and emerging threats. Although I am happy Congress was able to come together to pass this bill, the final compromise left out important amendments I included in the original Senate bill that and would have benefited many airports across the country, especially in West Virginia. I will continue to fight for these measures that would provide funding for permanent repairs to damaged airports and protect our nation’s general aviation pilots.”

Below is a full list of Senator Manchin’s provisions included in the final bill:

  • Airport Security Legislation – Senator Manchin helped lead the effort to include an amendment that will enhance security efforts in “soft” target areas at airports, such as check-in and baggage claim areas. It also doubles the number of Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR) teams from 30 to 60 and provides new funding for law enforcement active shooter training.
  • Working Group on Improving Air Service to Small Communities – This legislation includes a working group that will study whether funding for, and terms of, the Essential Air Service and the Small Community Air Service Development Programs are sufficient to support air service to small, rural communities. The Essential Air Service program supports flights serving Beckley, Clarksburg, Morgantown, Parkersburg, and Greenbrier.
  • Contract Weather Observers – The bill requires the FAA to review the ongoing efforts to dismantle the Contract Weather Observer program at small and medium sized airports and places a moratorium on those efforts until a study is complete.