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Conference Report on H.R. 658, FAA Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2012

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. PETRI. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, for yielding. As are you and our other colleagues, I am happy to see this process coming to a conclusion.

The successful conference report that we're debating today domonstrates our ability to take on important issues and still reach bicameral, bipartisan agreement on how to move oru aviation industry forward, reform a critical government agency, and create jobs.

This legislation will, at long last, provide stable funding and policy direction for the FAA's safety programs, airport development grants, NextGen efforts, and operations for budget years 2012-2015. The legislation contains no earmarks and achieves savings for our taxpayers.

This legislation includes many important aviation-policy initiatives. I'm especially pleased with the reforms included in the legislation for the FAA's NextGen program. The conference report establishes timelines, performance metrics, and accountability for the NextGen program.

The conference agreement also authorizes the FAA to streamline environmental reviews that often stall out efforts to increase the efficiency of our national airspace system. To be clear, the benefits of the NextGen program are not only felt by aviation users. A May 2011 Deloitte study showed a $281 billion net benefit to the U.S. economy if the NextGen program is implemented on time. So I'm pleased to move this legislation that will help the FAA's efforts to implement the important NextGen modernization program.

By setting requirements and deadlines for FAA rules for the safe integration of unmanned aircraft systems, the conference report also unlocks the potential for private sector job creation here at home that has so far been stalled by government inaction.

Along with advancements in the NextGen program, this legislation enacts policies that will foster sustained, long-term job creation in our private sector, reaffirming the United States' leadership role in aerospace innovation and manufacturing.

In addition to policy changes that help spur job creation, the legislation makes over $14 billion available for airport projects over the life of the bill. As the spring construction season nears, it's important to have the stable funding available for airport projects. This legislation gives airport managers the ability to plan and execute airport projects that will support thousands of construction jobs. This legislation also enacts protections to assure airline passengers are treated properly and fairly in the event of travel delays.

The bill makes reforms to the Essential Air Service program, eliminating Federal subsidies in the most egregious circumstances, as highlighted last year.

Overall, the reforms included in the legislation will make the FAA work smarter, reduce its footprint, and deliver more.

The final product will provide the kind of stability and job creation for America's aviation infrastructure that this Congress and the American people have been looking for.

I strongly support this legislation, and before concluding would like to acknowledge the very hard work of Holly Lyons and our general counsel, Bailey Edwards, as well as Giles Giovinazzi and Alex Burkett, who have helped negotiate with the Senate and bring this project to a successful conclusion.


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