Senator Carper Statement on Senate Passage of Legislation to Reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration

Today U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.) released the following statement after the Senate voted to pass legislation to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). The Senate passed the legislation by a bipartisan vote of 88-4.

“Today, the U.S. Senate approved crucial, bipartisan legislation to maintain the safety and efficiency of our aviation system. This bill strengthens safety requirements and standards for our airplanes and airports and invests in modernizing aviation technology and airport infrastructure, all while growing and supporting the aviation workforce.

“Importantly, this legislation will support the aviation needs of the First State by creating a pathway for the continued work to extend Delaware Coastal Airport’s runway, which is a significant economic driver for Sussex County and the region. And it expands the FAA’s workforce development grant programs, so we can grow the aviation workforce with new education and recruitment tools and resources. I’m glad we finally came to a bipartisan agreement to support travelers across the country. I urge my colleagues in the House of Representatives to move this bill swiftly across the finish line.”

The FAA Reauthorization Act of 2024 reauthorizes the FAA through fiscal year (FY) 2028 and strengthens aviation safety, enhances consumer protections, modernizes our nation’s airports, and bolsters the aviation workforce. The bill also reauthorizes the NTSB through FY2028 to ensure that the board has the workforce and resources it needs to thoroughly investigate transportation accidents.

The bill includes a provision authored by Senator Carper to create a new pilot program to fund runway extension projects at general aviation airports, including the runway extension project at the Delaware Coastal Airport in Sussex County. In March, Senator Carper and the Delaware Congressional Delegation announced they had secured $1 million in federal funding to support the environmental assessment and preliminary design of the runway extension. The new pilot program created in the FAA Reauthorization Act would provide a pathway to funding future phases of the Delaware Coastal Airport runway extension project through a new grant program.

The FAA Reauthorization Act increases the amount of Airport Improvement Program funding available for general aviation airports, like the Delaware Coastal Airport. The bill also increases the minimum amount of funding that primary airports, including the Wilmington, Delaware airport, are entitled to receive, from $1 million to $1.3 million annually.

Also included in the bill is a provision from the AIRWAYS Act, which Senator Carper cosponsored, which increases funding for the FAA’s workforce development grant programs to $60 million per year through FY2028. This provision would also ensure that aviation programs at minority-serving institutions, like Delaware State University, and programs that encourage the participation of populations that are underrepresented in the aviation industry are considered for funding.