Reed Helps Clear FAA Extension Bill for Takeoff

By Carmen Russo

WASHINGTON, DC – In an effort to enhance airport security and keep improvements to
T.F. Green Airport on schedule, U.S. Senator Jack Reed today voted to pass a much
needed reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The bipartisan
bill to extend federal aviation programs through September of 2017 was approved by
the full U.S. Senate on a vote of 89-4.

The bill authorizes maintaining current levels of spending — about $13.6 billion
per year — and will increase the number of K-9 bomb-sniffing dog teams deployed at
airport security checkpoints.

Without Congressional action, FAA’s authority to fund airport projects and certain
agency operations was due to expire July 15. This measure now heads to the
President’s desk to be signed into law.

«I am pleased we were able to find a bipartisan way forward to enhance airport
security and airline safety while protecting consumers and keeping needed upgrades
to T.F. Green and other airports on schedule,» said Senator Reed. «This bill
contains needed security enhancements and provisions to make flying safer for
passengers.»

The bill is necessary to ensure federal funds are available to complete T.F. Green
Airport runway expansion and safety projects. With strong support from state and
local officials, the business community, and labor, the T.F. Green runway expansion
project is well underway. At the federal level, Senator Reed has led efforts to
work with the FAA on a plan to invest approximately $110 million to upgrade T.F.
Green runways and undertake needed mitigation efforts. Just this week, the state
received a $9.3 million grant installment to continue work on the project.

Construction on various aspects of the improvement plan is scheduled to continue
through December of 2017.

«T.F. Green is vital to our state’s economy and upgrading the runways is a smart
investment that can help attract tourists, as well as new business and jobs to Rhode
Island,» concluded Reed.