U.S. SENATE — U.S. Senator Steve Daines today voted to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for five years. The five-year extension includes several wins for Montana including the reauthorization of the Small Community Air Service Development Program critical to growing Montana’s air service and the authorization of West Yellowstone Airport to receive increased Airport Improvement Program grants. Daines also secured a requirement for sanitary “Mother’s Rooms” for nursing mothers in all large and medium commercial airports.
“Safe and dependable air transportation is critical to Montana’s economy. This bill reauthorizes the FAA for 5 years, providing much needed certainty for the aviation community, Montanans and visitors. The reauthorization also contains important wins for Montana’s network of small commercial and community airports, and nursing mothers across the nation. I look forward to getting it to the president’s desk for signature,” Daines said.
The FAA reauthorization also reforms several Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) programs that will help reduce disaster costs, speed recovery and prevent loss of life.
The bill will now be sent to the president’s desk for signature.
Daines secured the following wins in the FAA reauthorization:
- Includes Daines’ bipartisan bill to allow West Yellowstone Airport to receive increased Airport Program Grants. Daines introduced the bill in September.
- Reauthorizes the Small Community Air Service Development Program (SCASDP) for five years at $10 million. SCASDP enables rural and small community air service to grow. SCASDP has helped to expand service in Butte, Kalispell, Bozeman, Missoula, West Yellowstone, Helena and Great Falls, including bringing American Airlines to Montana.
- Provides approach control radar to the FAA tower at the Helena Airport. Currently, Helena is one of only two FAA towers in the nation that does not have approach control radar.
- Authorizes Essential Air Service for five years which is critical to rural connectivity. Essential Air Service ensures that small, rural communities have access to the national air transportation system.
- Prioritizes airport construction projects in cold weather states like Montana.
- Requirement of sanitary “Mother’s Rooms” for nursing mothers in all large and medium commercial airports. Daines has been an advocate for expanding resources for nursing mothers, including introducing the Fairness for Breastfeeding Mothers Act, requiring all federal buildings to have “Mother’s Rooms.”
- Reforms several FEMA programs enabling state, local, and tribal governments to focus on proactively preparing for natural disasters.
- Provides additional authority for hazard mitigation assistance in areas affected by wildfires. During Montana’s devastating 2017 wildfire season, Montana was granted eight FEMA Fire Management Assistance Grants. These funds are critical in helping Montana communities recover and in mitigating the risk of future loss and damage from wildfires.