A West Central Illinois Congressman is sharing thoughts of encouragement following the passage of the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act of 2018.
The act, also referred to as H.R. 4, is the first long-term FAA reauthorization in over five years, and Peoria-based Congressman Darin LaHood is praising the bi-partisan support that helped make it official.
As a representative of Illinois’ 18th Congressional District, LaHood’s constituents include the residents of Washington, Illinois, a town of 10-thousand people located just east of Peoria that was ravaged by an EF4 tornado back in 2013. And according to LaHood, the legislation passed yesterday not only provides assistance to both large and small aviation-related operations, but is also designed to increase emergency responses to communities like Washington that have suffered from natural disasters.
First though, LaHood explains what the FAA Reauthorization Act does.
“Basically for the next five years… reauthorizes the programs that make up the Federal Aviation Administration, the FAA, and this really strengthens our aviation systems across the country: small, medium, and large airports. It [H.R. 4] does a number of things that help. First of all, it cuts red tape in Washington [D.C.] so that our manufacturers can get products to market on time and stay competitive globally. We have a number of aviation companies across the country. Secondly, it encourages American innovation in aviation technology to promote a stronger work force, which our aviation workforce in the United States produces a lot of products that go all over the world… and technology.”
The Congressman goes over one of the components of the bill that directly impacts Illinois’ 18th district, which encompasses Jacksonville and a large portion of west central Illinois.
“Really important for our area … [H.R. 4] ensures our airport infrastructure connects our businesses and increases the number of air travelers to the world. So, there’s many in the airport infrastructure, whether that’s runways, whether that’s technology going into the air traffic control towers, and other modern technology. In the end, what this will do… it gives the American public a better flight experience as they continue to travel. We have, I think, the best system in the world. It’s the safest in the world for air travelers, and a number of the things that we do in this bill help with continuing that, but also growing our aviation industry and giving more people the ability to fly in a cost-efficient manner.”
LaHood also discusses the catastrophe in Washington several years ago, explaining some of the difficulties the community faced, and how this new legislation aims to prevent similar issues in the future.
“They had real difficulty because of the current formula with getting the federal funding they needed. And part of it was because Washington [Illinois] was viewed as too much of a wealthy community, which at the time, and we still believe, put it at a real disadvantage compared to other communities. And so we changed the formula. What we do is, essentially, the formula looks at lots of different factors that go into when a tornado or other natural disaster strikes and gives lots of different communities a fair chance at getting those dollars, because those are going to continue to happen, and so we think this is common-sense, bipartisan legislation.”
H.R. 4, the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018, passed the House Friday by a vote of 393 to 13, evidence of very strong bipartisan support. As the legislation now heads to the U.S. Senate, LaHood says he’s confident that there will be similar bipartisan efforts to move the bill one step closer to becoming law