FAA Bill Approved by Senate Commerce Committee

Six Gardner Amendments Included in Legislation

Washington, D.C. — Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) today released the below statement following the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee’s approval of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act. The legislation reauthorizes the FAA and the Essential Air Service program (EAS), and gives long-term funding and policy certainty to airports across Colorado, including Denver International Airport – the sixth busiest airport in the country.


Gardner has and will continue to be an advocate for the EAS program as many rural areas across Colorado depend on it. Additionally, Denver International Airport serves more EAS markets in the country than any other airport. Gardner sent a letter to the Appropriations Committee asking them to continue funding the program, and last year Gardner sent a letter to the Department of Transportation in support of continued EAS for the San Luis Valley Airport in Alamosa.


“Today, the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee worked in a bipartisan fashion to approve the FAA Reauthorization Act that included six amendments I authored along with multiple provisions I helped champion that will benefit Colorado,” said Gardner. “Whether it’s prioritizing helicopter safety, providing funding for airport security equipment, or reducing regulations on Colorado’s airports, the Senate showed once again it is able to work across party lines to get things done for the American people. As Colorado’s first Senator to sit on the Senate’s Science, Commerce, and Transportation Committee in more than 40 years, I’m proud I’m able to advance Colorado’s interests and put our state’s priorities first.”


The following Gardner-led and Gardner co-led amendments were passed out of Committee and are now included in the bill.


  • Gardner Amendment 1 – This amendment would make remote towers utilized by airports eligible for the Contract Tower Program if the technology is certified by FAA. Northern Colorado Regional Airport is pursuing a remote tower initiative and want long term certainty if their technology is certified. The base text of the bill also makes the program eligible for Airport Improvement Program funding if the technology is certified at Gardner’s request.


  • Gardner-Hassan Amendment (Gardner Amendment 2 ) – This amendment makes clear that Congress wants the FAA to continue their feasibility assessment into making available the 1300-1350MHz band for non-Federal use. Gardner has long been focused on trying to open up more Federal spectrum for commercial use in order to help ease the load on our current commercial spectrum resources so we can deliver faster and more reliable service and products to consumers.


  • Gardner Amendment 3 – This amendment requires the FAA to expeditiously certify retrofit kits on helicopters to improve fuel system crash worthiness. After a Flight for Life helicopter crashed in Frisco, CO in 2015, it was determined the death of the pilot was not due to the crash itself but from the fire afterwards because the helicopter lacked a crash resistant fuel system. Gardner has worked with his colleagues from both parties to put us on a path where every helicopter in the United States has a crash resistant fuel system to prevent a similar tragedy from happening in the future.


  • Peters-Gardner Amendment 1 – This amendment would expand the eligibility for airports to use their Airport Improvement Program (AIP) dollars to install CCTV security equipment. Providing additional options to airports to meet their security needs is important, particularly in light of security concerns at airports across the world – notably Brussels and Fort Lauderdale.


  • Sullivan-Gardner Amendment 2 (as modified) – This amendment would limit the FAA’s ability to regulate non-aeronautical property at airports that is not relevant to aircraft safety. Rocky Mountain Airport and Denver International Airport have faced regulatory challenges from the FAA when it comes to development efforts for their non-aeronautical airport land and airports should be empowered to control their property without the FAA bureaucratic overreach, so long as it does not involve safety.


  • Lee-Gardner Amendment 3 – This amendment would require the FAA to issue rulemaking related to the testing and operation of supersonic aircraft. Next-generation supersonic technology being developed in Colorado could fundamentally change the way we travel through the air by reducing travel times significantly. Companies pursuing supersonic technology need long-term regulatory certainty from the FAA that will allow their designs to move forward so long as they are safe and meet existing standards for noise.




Cory Gardner is a member of the U.S. Senate serving Colorado. He sits on the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee, and the Budget Committee, and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy and Subcommittee on Energy.

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