|WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) recently hailed the Senate passage of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Air Transportation, Modernization and Safety Improvement Act, which contains provisions critical to general aviation and the Essential Air Service Program which is of extreme significance to the Joplin Airport as well as other airports needing federal assistance in which to attract carriers.
In a speech on the Senate floor Roberts in part said, “Specifically, the FAA Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act includes provisions to implement a state of the art satellite based navigation system to provide operators and users of our national air space system with seamless capabilities for guiding and locating traffic throughout the system. This legislation would codify inspection procedures at foreign repair stations closely resembling existing agreements between the United States and the European Union. It also maintains critical funding for the Essential Air Service Program which provides Kansas, and other rural states, the ability to provide air service to smaller communities and the citizens and businesses whose livelihood relies on the ability to travel long distances in a short amount of time."
He thanked members of the finance committee for finding the necessary funding streams to pay for the annual $15.9 billion that the legislation authorizes without imposing disproportionate user fees on the general aviation industry by preserving current fuel tax levels.
“Lastly, this legislation would not undermine steps taken at the Department of Transportation to protect private citizens from having their movements tracked by anyone with easily accessible flight tracking technology," Roberts said. “This program, the Blocked Aircraft Registration Request Program (BARR), has more to do with protecting a citizen’s right to privacy than anything else, and I commend Congress and the Administration for ensuring its continued application."
Roberts has been at the forefront of the BARR issue. He introduced legislation to preserve the BARR program and in December, 2011, the FAA implemented policy based on his efforts. He is a member of the Senate General Aviation Caucus and is an outspoken advocate for general aviation.