Sen. Scott Backs FAA Reauthorization Bill

WASHINGTON — Yesterday, U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.) voted in favor of legislation to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and aviation programs for the next five years. The bill includes important provisions to improve safety and grow the aviation industry and overall economy in South Carolina. 

“As our state continues to grow and we work to create more economic opportunity, it is more important than ever that South Carolinians have safe, reliable access to air transportation,” said Senator Scott. “This bill delivers critical wins for our state that will improve passenger safety, help expand and make our airports more accessible, and address the workforce challenges that too often lead to delays, missed meetings, and disrupted plans.”


The FAA reauthorization delivers wins for South Carolina’s aviation industry and passengers by:

Supporting Airport Growth

  • The bill provides $4 billion per year from Fiscal Years 2025 – 2028 for the Airport Improvement Program (AIP), which helps fund improvements to airport capacity, safety, and other similar projects.
  • With the growth South Carolina is seeing, and the increased travel demand to the state, several of our airports are in the middle of or nearing work on projects eligible under the AIP.
  • It increases the number of FAA activities that are covered by categorical exclusions from the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process, including for smaller projects or projects that rebuild infrastructure as a result of damage or destruction from a natural disaster.

Increasing Aviation and Passenger Safety

  • The legislation includes policy to track and evaluate the ground and air traffic activity at airports and develop strategies to address safety risks.
  • Further, it requires the FAA to identify and deploy technologies, equipment, and systems that would improve situational awareness, enhance ground operations, and increase overall flight safety.

Addressing Aviation Workforce Challenges

  • The FAA is required to start a study examining the recruitment, hiring, and retention of air traffic controller instructors and project the number needed to maintain our airspace.
  • The bill directs the FAA to hire and train Air Traffic Control (ATC) staff and study/determine which staffing models best fit the operation needs of our ATC system.
  • The Department of Transportation (DOT), in consultation with the Secretary of Veterans Affairs and the Secretary of Education, will establish a pilot program to provide flight training and educational opportunities to veterans who were not aviators during service.
  • The FAA is directed to partner with and conduct outreach to HBCUs and MSIs to promote educational and career opportunities in the aerospace, aviation, and air traffic control sectors.
  • It also prevents the FAA from mandating COVID-19 vaccination as a requirement before employment.