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González-Colón touts securing priorities for Puerto Rico in US House-approved FAA reauthorization bill

by | Jul 31, 2023 | General | 0 comments

The United States House of Representatives recently passed HR 3935, the Securing Growth and Robust Leadership in American Aviation Act, which included Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González-Colón (NPP, R) initiatives to promote the development of the aerospace industry and identify ways to increase air cargo operations in Puerto Rico.

“My amendment seeks to identify ways in which Puerto Rico can further increase air cargo operations in our three international airports and thus better serve domestic and international stakeholders and customers. Airports are drivers of economic activity across our country. This is why I have consistently advocated for greater flexibilities for movement of air cargo in Puerto Rico. The Department of Transportation has temporarily approved this request. My amendment seeks to identify specific actions or investments that may be needed to continue increasing air cargo operations. This will help promote our Island as a viable point for air cargo transshipment and commerce,” said González-Colón, who serves on the US House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

González-Colón’s amendment authorizes a report from the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) to examine different aspects related to increasing air cargo operations on the Island. These include the economic impact of recent waivers related to air cargo approved by the US Department of Transportation, recommendations for security measures that may be necessary to support increased air cargo operations in Puerto Rico, airport infrastructure improvements that may be needed, alternatives to increase the participation of private partners, and the potential need for additional staff. The amendment was approved by voice vote.

The bill also includes language championed by the resident commissioner to clarify the eligibility of territories to receive supplemental matching grants for transportation infrastructure and facilities in launch and reentry sites.

“In the case of Puerto Rico, there is great interest in the aerospace industry, which led the Island to request authorization to operate a spaceport at the José Aponte De La Torre Airport in the municipality of Ceiba. Participation in this pilot program could be of valuable help as the Island continues to move towards greater aerospace activity,” González-Colón explained.

HR 3935 supports US leadership in aviation by investing in airport infrastructure, fostering the integration of new and more effective technologies, supporting aviation industry workers, and improving the traveler experience.

Some of the most notable points of the project include the allocation of $4 billion for the Airport Improvement (AIP) program, which supports the infrastructure at airports on the Island. It also reauthorizes the Essential Air Services (EAS) program, which benefits our small airports through flight subsidies for air carriers.

Section 438 of the bill authorizes the assessment of the impact of sea level rise on the nation’s coastal airports, including those of Puerto Rico. Lastly, the bill includes language that allows for the integration of advanced aviation technology, like drones and Advanced Air Mobility, into the airspace; and lists the territories under the definition of state for work related to the National Transportation Safety Board, the entity tasked with investigating accidents in all civilian modes of transportation.

“HR 3935 truly delivers for the American people, our economy, and supports US leadership in aviation. I was proud to support it during Committee consideration and am pleased to see it was broadly approved by the House,” said González-Colón.

The Securing Growth and Robust Leadership in American Aviation Act would reauthorize the FAA and aviation safety and infrastructure programs for the next five years. The bill passed the House with strong bipartisan support in a 351-69 vote.



William-Jose Velez Gonzalez

William-Jose Velez Gonzalez

William-José Vélez González is a native from Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, and a graduate from Florida International University in biomedical engineering, engineering management, and international relations. A designer with a strong interest in science, policy, and innovation, he previously served as the national executive vice president of the Puerto Rico Statehood Students Association. William-José lives in Washington, DC, where he works at the Children's National Research Institute and runs Opsin, a nonprofit design studio dedicated to making design more accessible. You can see him on Love is Blind as Lydia's brother. He is the founder and Editor in Chief of Pasquines.


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