WASHINGTON, D.C. – (RealEstateRama) — The U.S. House of Representatives today passed U.S. Rep Rick Nolan’s bill, H.R. 6014, with unanimous support to reduce unnecessary cost burdens on State and Local governments and their airports from the Federal Government when conducting airport improvement and expansion projects. Currently, State and Local governments are being forced to pay an inordinate amount of money to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to complete a project that could be done at a lower cost by the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT).
In his remarks on the House floor, Nolan pointed to local examples of waste in Brainerd and Rochester, Minnesota where projects that could be completed at a lower cost by MnDOT were instead directed to the FAA at a significantly higher price.
“This bill simply requires that projects be done in a cost-effective and common sense manner, complying with FAA safety requirements, promoting public safety and enhancing our overall aviation system,” Nolan said.
“I appreciate Mr. Nolan’s commitment to this issue and his willingness to work with the committee on a bipartisan basis,” Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) said in support of Nolan’s legislation on the House floor. “With that, I urge my colleagues to support H.R. 6014.”
Nolan’s legislation authorizes the FAA to enter into what are called “Reimbursable Agreements” with states to expand and improve local airports. It also requires that these agreements be made in a collaborative and cost-effective manner that saves money reduces unnecessary government bureaucracy whenever possible – while continuing to promote the safety, integrity, and efficiency of our national airspace.
Click here to watch Nolan’s speech on the House floor.
The full text of Nolan’s “Dear Colleague” letter to fellow Members of Congress is below:
I urge your support for H.R.6014, as amended, expected to be on the floor September 20th under suspension of the rules. The measure is similar to language I offered during the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee’s markup of our Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization bill (H.R.4441) back in March, where it received unanimous support.
Under current law, the FAA is generally allowed to enter into various contracts, leases, and cooperative agreements with other Federal agencies and States as necessary to carry out the functions of the FAA Administrator and the Administration. My legislation will ensure the agency is working in greater collaboration with these entities by specifically authorizing the FAA to enter into so-called “Reimbursable Agreements” with States when conducting airport improvement and expansion projects.
Under the bill, such agreements must include measures for cost-effective completion of the project, and they cannot negatively affect the safety or efficiency of the national airspace system. One such project meeting these requirements can be found in my District, where a regional airport is looking to build a new $1 million airplane hangar to bring new business to the airport and boost the local economy. In order to build the hangar, the airport’s two small 25-foot antenna towers need to be moved.
Originally, the FAA insisted they take full control of this project and enter into numerous, expensive Reimbursable Agreements with the airport where the airport and private sector investors need to pay the FAA back for all the work they do. This includes: a feasibility study, preliminary engineering, actual project construction, and FAA oversight of the work – all adding up to approximately $500,000. Meanwhile, the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) Aeronautics Division stated they could perform this work for approximately $17,000 and be in full compliance with FAA regulations.
After extensive discussions with the FAA and House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Staff, we learned this is a common FAA practice requiring additional unnecessary and costly bureaucratic oversight and scrutiny. Therefore, my measure will not only increase airport project efficiency, but save federal taxpayer dollars and relieve airports and private sector investors of unnecessary cost burdens from the Federal Government.
Thank you for your consideration of this nonpartisan effort. Please contact Eddie Wytkind on my staff with any questions.
Richard M. Nolan
Member of Congress