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Fischer Hails Provisions for Nebraska’s Small and Regional Airports

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Senate passed legislation to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for five years by a vote of 93-6. This bill includes several provisions worked on by U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, which will provide funding and certainty to a number of regional airports across Nebraska. The bill now heads to the president’s desk for signature into law.

“Working with Nebraskans, I secured provisions that will benefit many of our airports and keep our communities connected. Because of the wins for Nebraska in this bill, people in our state will have better access to air service, and they’ll be safer when they fly,” said Senator Fischer.

More information about specific provisions in the bill Senator Fischer supported for Nebraska Airports is below.

Columbus – Columbus Municipal Airport will be permitted to build a snow removal equipment storage facility that fits the airport’s needs with Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funding.

Grand Island – Airports in the FAA’s Contract Tower Program, such as the Central Nebraska Regional Airport in Grand Island, will be able to use funds from the Small Airport Fund to make improvements to their contract towers.  Another provision would allow the Grand Island airport to fully participate in the Contract Tower Program, instead of matching the 20 percent cost-share requirement. 

Scottsbluff – Senator Fischer supported a provision included in the bill, known as the Small Airport Regulation Relief Act, which will ensure airports like the Western Nebraska Regional Airport in Scottsbluff continue to receive AIP funding despite downturns in service.  Additionally, the Government Accountability Office will be required to study the current state of the aviation workforce, as well as barriers preventing workers from entering the industry. 

Alliance, Chadron, Grand Island, Kearney, McCook, North Platte, and Scottsbluff – Senator Fischer has long worked to shore up support for the Essential Air Service program. Many of Nebraska’s small and regional airports rely on this program to provide air service. The FAA bill passed today reauthorizes the Essential Air Service program and gradually increases the authorized funding from $155 million in fiscal year (FY) 2018 to $172 million in FY 2023. Airports in Alliance, Chadron, Grand Island, Kearney, McCook, North Platte, and Scottsbluff are included in the EAS program. 

Mother’s Rooms – This bill includes a provision Senator Fischer worked on to require medium and large hub airports to have mother’s rooms available for nursing mothers.