Carper Statement on Passage of Long-Term Aviation Infrastructure Funding

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) and a senior member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC), applauded Senate passage of a bipartisan, bicameral bill that includes reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for five years. The bill prioritizes much-needed funding for aviation, transportation safety, and disaster recovery reforms and reauthorizations.

The FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 invests in airport infrastructure, promotes safety, and strengthens consumer protections. The legislation also builds on the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) reforms that Senator Carper championed as Ranking Member of HSGAC, including changes to speed up TSA lines at airports, improve security at checkpoints and allow wait time information to be publicly accessible to travelers.

“This bill is the result of Democrats and Republicans coming together and finding common ground on solutions that make a difference in Americans’ lives,” said Senator Carper. “Against most odds, the Senate and members of the House came together around a long-term funding bill for aviation that will provide much-needed certainty to American businesses and ensure funding for infrastructure that keeps our country moving. Additionally, this legislation will help make sure that agencies like TSA have the resources and tools it needs to do its job and serve travelers efficiently. Finally, just like the America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018, which Senator Barrasso and I are working hard to get across the finish line in the Senate, this bill was completed largely without ‘poison pills’ and has garnered broad, bipartisan support. This is how reauthorizations should be done, and I hope the President signs it quickly.”

 Specifically, the bill:

  • Directs FAA to set leg room, width and length requirements for passenger seats in commercial flights;
  • Improves service and protections for families and for pregnant and nursing mothers by providing for priority boarding and ensuring lactation rooms in medium and large hub airports;
  • Leverages the private sector to make Pre-Check enrollment easier for passengers and directs TSA to meet specific targets for expanding Pre-Check enrollment;
  • Requires TSA to make real-time information on wait times via technology at each airport security checkpoint available to the public, both online and in airport terminals;
  • Updates requirements for Federal Air Marshal deployments to rely more on intelligence and risk-based strategies;
  • Sets up a public area security working group and disseminates best practices; and
  • Authorizes piloting, testing, and prioritization of Computed Tomography technology to mitigate current threats to transportation.