President Signs Montana Airport Priorities into Law

U.S. SENATE — President Donald J. Trump signed a five-year reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) into law. U.S. Senator Steve Daines secured several wins for Montana in the five-year extension 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.

The FAA reauthorization provides much-needed certainty for the aviation community, Montanans and visitors. It also contains important wins for Montana’s airports such as Essential Air Service, the Small Community Air Service Development Program, and priority review of construction projects in states like Montana. I thank President Trump for signing this important measure into law,” 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. 

Statements of Support:

Jeff Wadekamper, Director, Helena Regional Airport Authority: We sincerely appreciate the attention given to long term funding of the aviation system by Senator Daines and his staff. Airports across Montana are experiencing a surge in traffic, including Helena Regional Airport’s 13.9% increase so far this year. Stable funding of the aviation system ensures airports can continue to meet growing demands for all facets of aviation which are critical to Montana’s economy and connection with the rest of the world.”

Brian Sprenger, Airport Director, Bozeman Yellowstone Int’l Airport: “We are thankful for Senator Daines’ efforts in passing the 5-year FAA reauthorization bill. Airports commonly have projects that take years from planning to completion and this bill helps ensure we can most effectively and efficiently create the infrastructure needed for Bozeman Yellowstone Int’l.”

Cris Jensen, Airport Director, Missoula International Airport: As the Missoula International Airport (MSO) embarks on a new terminal project, we are grateful to Senator Daines for all of his efforts in working for the long-term reauthorization of the FAA. Now more than ever the continuity of FAA funding is critical to MSO as we construct a new state of the art terminal facility to keep up with our skyrocketing growth.

Rob Ratkowski, Airport Director, Glacier Park International Airport: “We are very happy to have a long-term FAA reauthorization bill. The provisions in this bill will bring stability to our funding sources and allow airports like us to approach long term development programs with certainty.” 

Tim Conway, Administrator, Aeronautics Division, Montana Department of Transportation: “Passage of the 5-year FAA Reauthorization Bill is good for the country, it’s good for the economy, and it’s good for Montana! This funding (which includes money specifically targeted for small airports and continues to fund Essential Air Service) will help Montana’s federally-funded community airports meet their infrastructure goals and continue to provide Montanan’s with an economical option to fly for business and pleasure.”

Daines secured the following provisions 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.