Bustos, Graves Introduce Bipartisan FLIGHT Act

WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17) and Congressman Sam Graves (MO-06) introduced the bipartisan Forward Looking Investment in General Aviation, Hangars and Tarmacs (FLIGHT) Act. A companion bill was also introduced in the U.S. Senate last week by Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) and Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.). The FLIGHT Act will give General Aviation (GA) airports more flexibility to facilitate infrastructure investment by using existing sources of funding.

From the 17th Congressional District, several General Aviation airports could potentially benefit from this legislation, including Ingersoll Airport in Canton, Kewanee Municipal Airport, Mercer County Airport in Aledo, Albertus Airport in Freeport, Galesburg Municipal Airport, Whiteside County Airport in Rock Falls, Monmouth Municipal Airport and Tri-Township Airport in Savanna.

“So many of the small towns and rural areas in our region depend on general aviation airports, and we need to ensure that they have the tools and resources necessary to succeed,” Congresswoman Bustos said. “The FLIGHT Act will give general aviation airports more flexibility with federal funding to complete improvement projects and support local jobs and economic development. I’m proud to work across the aisle with Congressman Graves on this important issue, and I’ll continue fighting to make job-creating investments in all our airports, big and small.”

“General aviation is an essential form of transportation in this country, but that is especially true in rural America. As the small airports supporting GA age, our facilities need to be modernized to continue providing reliable service to these communities,” Congressman Graves said. “The FLIGHT Act will give GA airports investment flexibility by opening up existing funding sources, presenting a much-needed, commonsense solution to the problems facing our nation’s small airports. I thank Senators Inhofe and Duckworth for their work on this in the Senate, and I look forward to partnering with Congresswoman Bustos to see this bill through the House.”

“The FLIGHT Act addresses the growing needs of our nation’s system of airports by providing the FAA with long overdue flexibility it needs to fund important projects,” said Mark Baker, President and CEO of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. “Maintaining and upgrading runways, taxiways, and aprons and meeting the need for new hangars, helps keep airports and communities vibrant and competitive. This bill also takes a critically important step in recognizing the vital role that reliever airports play in natural disaster relief efforts. We’d like to thank Congresswoman Bustos for her leadership and hard work to help airports prepare for the future in thousands of communities across the country.”

“Airports across the country have $100 billion in infrastructure needs over the next five years,” said Kevin M. Burke, President and CEO of Airports Council International – North America.  “We appreciate Reps. Graves and Bustos for introducing the FLIGHT Act to help general aviation airports better serve their communities, and we look forward to working with Congress to provide airports of all sizes with the resources they need to build much-needed infrastructure projects and improve aviation safety.”

“We appreciate the efforts of Representatives Graves and Bustos to enhance investments in general aviation airports through the FLIGHT Act and look forward to working with Congress in the months ahead to ensure that airports of all sizes have the resources they need to upgrade aging facilities and meet growing demands across the aviation system,” said Todd Hauptli, President and CEO of the American Association of Airport Executives.

 “We commend Representatives Graves and Bustos for their commitment to general aviation as the FLIGHT Act—among other things—will reinvest much-needed funding into non-primary airports across the country,” said Mark Kimberling, President and CEO of the National Association of State Aviation Officials. “We look forward to continuing our work together throughout the legislative process and beyond to ensure that our national network of general aviation airports remains the envy of the world.”

The bipartisan FLIGHT Act:

  • Reforms Non-Primary Entitlement (NPE) funding by giving general aviation (GA) airports more time to accumulate FAA funding for projects and ensures available discretionary funding originally set aside for GA airports remains available for projects at GA airports through a nationally competitive process.
  • Improves Project Delivery by extending to GA airport projects the same expedited and coordinated environmental review process used for projects at large congested airports. These reforms would empower GA airports with flexibility to devote needed resources to improving their infrastructure.
  • Establishes a pilot program for Public Private Partnerships at GA airports to attract private sector investment for the construction of private hangars, business hangars or investments in other facilities so general aviation airports can grow as hubs of economic activity and job growth.
  • Designates certain airports across the country as “Disaster Relief Airports” and provides access to funding set aside for airports to use for required emergency planning activities, equipment, or facilities. This provision would help designated airports that lack the resources and personnel to adequately prepare for responding to disasters.
  • Clarifies Aeronautical Activity at Airports by ensuring that the construction of recreational aircraft is an aeronautical activity at airports.