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Mr. PALAZZO. I thank the chairman for the time.
Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the conference report to H.R. 658, reauthorizing the Federal Aviation Administration through fiscal year 2015.
Early last year, the Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee held an oversight hearing on FAA's research and development programs. On March 9, 2011, Science Committee Chairman Ralph Hall introduced H.R. 970, the Federal Aviation Research and Development Act of 2011. A month later, it was reported out of the Science, Space, and Technology Committee. The bill was ultimately incorporated into H.R. 658, which is now before us.
FAA's Research, Engineering, and Development account funds a number of programs and projects that are essential to the agency's ongoing safety, capacity, and air traffic modernization efforts.
To give a few examples of its safety-related activities, FAA conducts research on the flammability of materials used in airplane cabins and on methods to improve fire suppression systems; research on mitigation of aircraft icing, on early detection of cracks and failure modes related to aging aircraft; and improving our understanding of human factors.
In the environmental arena, examples include research on fuel additives to replace lead in aviation gasoline that powers piston-engine aircraft and better characterizing aviation's impact on local air quality.
With regard to air traffic control, FAA is investing a considerable portion of its R&D funding on the NextGen modernization program to increase the capacity of air space, improve safety, and provide for more efficient routings.
Most of FAA's R&D is managed out of its technical center located at the Atlantic City, New Jersey, airport; but as many Members are aware, FAA also engages a large number of leading research universities using competitively selected cooperative research grants.
Mr. Speaker, this is a fiscally responsible R&D provision funding FHA's Research, Engineering, and Development account at its current spending level of $168 million a year for each year through 2015. This is well below amounts proposed by the Senate during conference negotiations.
I support this conference report and urge Members to support it as well, and I thank Mr. Mica for all his hard work.
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