The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a bill that aims to provide $25 million in grants over two years to plan and build vertiport infrastructure for advanced air mobility (AAM) and future eVTOL operations.
First introduced in the House in December, the Advanced Aviation Infrastructure Modernization (AAIM) Act is a starting point to addressing how vertiports could be paid for in the U.S. The bill is the result of advocacy efforts led by the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), with the support of a broad group of aviation stakeholders and driven through the NBAA AAM Roundtable.
“We applaud the House of Representatives for passing this important legislation, which will support the future of on-demand aviation,” said Ed Bolen, president and CEO of NBAA, in a press release. “The targeted investments outlined in this legislation will assist in creating new, innovative and sustainable air transportation networks throughout our country that will support hundreds of thousands of green jobs while also ensuring our nation’s global leadership in aviation.”
If signed into law, the bill directs the Secretary of Transportation to administer the grant program, prioritizing eligible recipients, such as state, local and tribal governments, airport sponsors, transit agencies, port authorities, and metropolitan planning organizations that propose working with AAM entities in their application.
A spokesperson for the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) told eVTOL.com that the organization is unsure when the bill could be finalized.
“There is a Senate companion bill that recently passed out of [the Senate Commerce Committee] and is pending action on the Senate floor,” the spokesperson said. “There are differences between the two versions. We are not sure how this will play out.”
With the passage of the House bill, NBAA said it will work with its coalition partners to advance the legislation in the Senate.
Meanwhile, a second AAM bill dubbed the Advanced Air Mobility Coordination and Leadership Act, which worked its way through the Senate in March, was also passed by the House on June 14 with amendments.
Once the Senate approves the amendments, it can go to the president to be signed into law, after which time, an interagency working group will be established within 120 days, as stipulated in the bill.
The group will be made up of leaders from key government agencies tasked with planning and coordinating efforts to advance the AAM industry.
The task force will also consult with various stakeholders, including aviation operators and manufacturers, airports, labor groups, state, local and tribal officials, consumer groups, and first responders.
Pete Bunce, president and CEO of GAMA, said the House’s decision to pass the two bills is encouraging news for the AAM industry.
“The support of Congress will be instrumental in the emergence of AAM and its facilitation of additional transportation options, job creation, economic growth, further environmental sustainability, and advancement in aerospace technology,” Bunce said. “Through proper planning and infrastructure preparation, and close cooperation with the FAA [Federal Aviation Administration] on enabling rulemaking, we can lead the way in this promising new sector.”