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FAA reauthorization bill includes over...

FAA reauthorization bill includes over $12 million to support Mississippi airports

By: Frank Corder - May 17, 2024

(Photo from FlyGPT)

  • The bipartisan bill includes a new rule that requires automatic cash refunds instead of vouchers for passengers when flights are cancelled or significantly delayed.

President Joe Biden (D) has signed legislation that reauthorizes the Federal Aviation Administration and provides funding for aviation systems and airport infrastructure, among other provisions.

H.R. 3935 passed the U.S. Senate 88-4 last week before being sent to the U.S. House of Representatives, where it passed by a vote of 387-26. Mississippi’s full federal delegation voted to approve the legislation.

Included in the bill was over $12 million to support Mississippi airports through the Airport Improvement Program. Below is an estimate of how much federal funding applicable airports will receive annually, as noted by the office of U.S. Senator Roger Wicker (R):

  • Golden Triangle Regional Airport – $1.3 million
  • Greenville Mid-Delta Airport – $1.3 million
  • Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport – $2.7 million
  • Hattiesburg-Laurel Regional Airport – $1.3 million
  • Jackson-Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport – $3.5 million
  • Key Field Airport – $1.3 million
  • Tupelo Regional Airport – $1.3 million

Wicker’s office also said the bill included several provisions that would help rural communities and support the growing unmanned aerial systems (UAS) industry in Mississippi.

Other assistance benefiting Mississippi that the legislation provides includes:

  • Reauthorization of the Aviation Workforce Development Grant Program, which awards grants for workforce development programs to support the recruitment, education, and training of pilots, engineers, UAS operators, and aviation maintenance technicians. Pearl River Community College receives this grant.
  • Language authorizing the continuation of the Center of Excellence for Unmanned Aircraft Systems, housed at Mississippi State University, through 2028.
  • A provision to establish ASSUREd Safe, a national credentialing authority for first responders’ usage of UAS, which would be housed at the Center of Excellence for Unmanned Aircraft Systems at Mississippi State University.

In total, the legislation provides over $105 billion to the FAA and another $738 million to the National Transportation Safety Board for safety programs, airport modernization, technology upgrades and more.

One provision of the legislation President Biden is touting is the new Department of Transportation rule that requires automatic cash refunds instead of vouchers for passengers when flights are cancelled or significantly delayed.

“It also makes sure families can sit together without paying extra fees,” President Biden was quoted as saying in a White House statement. “Passengers shouldn’t have to jump through endless hoops just to get the refunds that they are owed, and corporations shouldn’t rip off hardworking Americans through hidden junk fees.”

The five-year reauthorization legislation also requires the FAA to hire and train air traffic controllers, as many as possible, in an effort to fill nearly 3,000 vacancies.

About the Author(s)
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Frank Corder

Frank Corder is a native of Pascagoula. For nearly two decades, he has reported and offered analysis on government, public policy, business and matters of faith. Frank’s interviews, articles, and columns have been shared throughout Mississippi as well as in national publications. He is a frequent guest on radio and television, providing insight and commentary on the inner workings of the Magnolia State. Frank has served his community in both elected and appointed public office, hosted his own local radio and television programs, and managed private businesses all while being an engaged husband and father. Email Frank: