Today, Congressman Steny H. Hoyer (MD-5) praised a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the University System of Maryland, Rutgers University, and Virginia Tech to collaborate and partner on a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) test site. Governor Martin O'Malley, Governor Chris Christie, and Governor Robert McDonnell submitted a letter of support for the MOU to U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. Congressman Hoyer worked closely with the Governors to reach an agreement to collaborate on the project.
"I'm pleased the University System of Maryland, Rutgers University, and Virginia Tech have signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on this proposal," stated Congressman Hoyer. "In addition to these exceptional higher education institutions, the Mid-Atlantic region is advantaged by world-class federal facilities, such as Pax River Naval Air Station, Webster Field, NASA's Wallops Flight Facility, NASA Langley Research Center, and Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren. Our proposal is also strengthened by industry partners, such as NextGen Aviation Research and Technology Park in New Jersey. Together, with these outstanding assets and partnerships, the Mid-Atlantic region has a highly competitive advantage in the bidding process. I thank Governor O'Malley, Governor Christie, and Governor McDonnell for their work on this effort, and I am hopeful that our region will receive this important designation, which will support greater diversification and job creation in the Fifth District."
"With the potential to create more than 2,500 well-paying jobs in Maryland over the next 12 years, the Unmanned Aircraft Systems sector has the potential to have a significant positive economic impact on our state," stated Governor O'Malley. "This is an exciting agreement between three world-class educational institutions that takes advantage of the unparalleled capabilities in Maryland, New Jersey and Virginia for research, development and testing, and positions the Mid-Atlantic region as the ideal location for an Unmanned Aircraft Systems test site."
"We are thankful to our entire Congressional delegation, especially Congressman Steny Hoyer, who worked diligently to grow this coalition, the universities for their spirit of cooperation, and to partner companies in each state whose support is testament to the potential of this initiative," continued Governor O'Malley.
Several facilities and organizations in Maryland's Fifth District were included as part of Maryland's UAS proposal, submitted to the FAA in May, including the University of Maryland College Park, the general aviation airport in St. Mary's County, federal and industry partners, and community organizations such as the Southern Maryland Navy Alliance and the Patuxent Partnership. In addition, Pax River Naval Air Station is recognized as the premier test site of UAS activity.