May 09, 2024

Van Hollen Statement on FAA Reauthorization Vote

Today, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) released the following statement regarding his vote on the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill:

“The FAA and the many airports, airport workers, and airport-related businesses it touches are vital to our daily commerce and Americans’ safe travel. I appreciate the provisions within this bill to improve the workforce pipeline for air traffic controllers, pilots, and air mechanics; increase access for individuals with disabilities; and codify important consumer protections.

“That being said, I was outraged that this legislation changed the long-standing slot and perimeter rule that ensures safe and manageable travel from Washington National Airport (DCA), without addressing the concerns of the Senators who represent the residents of this region. What’s more, we were denied by Senator Cruz the opportunity to vote on an amendment on this dangerous provision – that would have given the Secretary of Transportation the power to add additional slots if he certified that it would not negatively impact safety – further blocking the chance for democracy to work its will. The runway at DCA is already the busiest in our nation and the addition of these 10 flights jeopardizes both its safety and operations – a fact confirmed by Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg when I recently asked him about this issue in a hearing before the Appropriations Committee. I am deeply concerned about the long-lasting implications this will have for my constituents who travel to and from DCA.

“I’m also disappointed that Senator Cardin and I did not get a vote on our amendment to ensure a 100% federal cost share as we work to rebuild, following the collapse of Baltimore’s Key Bridge. I do appreciate the commitment from our colleagues on both sides of the aisle to work together on this issue, and we will continue pressing to get this enacted. Lastly, while I was glad the FAA legislation establishes an Aircraft Noise Advisory Committee, these provisions do not go nearly far enough to help reduce the impact of aircraft noise on our communities.

“Given my concerns around the provisions included within this FAA reauthorization bill, I voted against the legislation tonight.”