Two new bills that were passed by the United States House of Representatives this past week target the advanced air mobility (AAM) sector.
The passage of the Advanced Air Mobility Coordination and Leadership Act on Thursday calls for the development of an interagency working group to help the federal government develop a strategy to promote AAM.
Pete Bunce, president and CEO of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), applauded the decision to pass the bill. In a press release, he stated that the legislation will help advance the sector, believing AAM will provide additional transportation options, create jobs, spur economic activity, advance environmental sustainability, and support emergency preparedness.
“We commend the House for passing this important bipartisan legislation and are grateful for those that championed it,” Bunce said.
Earlier this year, a similar bill was passed out of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. There are slight differences between the House and Senate bill, and the Senate as a whole has yet to vote on its version.
Andre Castro, director of communications at GAMA, told eVTOL.com that the Senate can either act on the House-passed bill or move forward with its own version. If the Senate were to pass its version, the House could elect to pass that bill or work with the Senate to resolve the differences. Once the bill is passed by both chambers, it can go to the president to be signed into law.
“Timing on all of this is really unknown, but we are hopeful that the House action will help speed up action in the Senate,” said Castro, adding the Senate is currently scheduled for only three more weeks of session this year.
Once the bill is signed into law, the interagency working group will be established within 120 days, as stipulated in the bill. The group will be composed of leaders from key government agencies who are expected to review and make recommendations on the role that the federal government should play in the AAM sector. Beyond aircraft certification, the group will focus on economic and workforce opportunities, potential physical and digital security risks and mitigations, and infrastructure development.
In developing these recommendations, the working group will consult with various stakeholders, including aviation operators and manufacturers, airports, labor groups, state, local and tribal officials, consumer groups, and first responders.
Jim Viola, president and CEO of Helicopter Association International, previously told eVTOL.com that “establishing an AAM working group with representatives from each of the necessary federal agencies will not only facilitate a more effective and comprehensive regulatory framework, but it will also help the AAM industry get off the ground sooner.”
In addition to the Advanced Air Mobility Coordination and Leadership Act, the House also passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which proposes to inject $550 billion in new spending for U.S. infrastructure, including investments to modernize the country’s transportation systems.
This includes $500 million for general aviation airports, as well as $5 billion to the Federal Aviation Administration over the next five years for towers and other air traffic control facilities. About $100 million will also be available annually from the Strengthening Mobility and Revolutionizing Transportation (SMART) Grant Program for cities to conduct demonstrations for “smart city technologies.”
Ed Bolen, president and CEO of the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), stated in a press release that the passage of the bill is a “victory for America’s transportation sector and a recognition of NBAA’s successful advocacy efforts. The bill advances many of our priorities, including the incorporation of the NBAA-supported Promoting Services in Transportation Act.”
NBAA will continue to work with industry leaders through its recently formed Advanced Air Mobility Roundtable to heighten understanding of AAM as an integral part of developing infrastructure policy.
“AAM will revolutionize air transportation in the coming years,” Bolen said. “We must act now to understand the legislative, regulatory, and infrastructure needs of AAM to realize the potential of this transformative industry.”
Along with the House, the Senate has also passed this legislation in August. With both chambers supporting the bill, it is now ready to be signed by the president.