Sinema welcomed aviation industry witnesses including Danette Bewley, President and CEO of the Tucson Airport Authority
WASHINGTON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema led the second hearing of the Senate Subcommittee on Aviation Safety, Operations, and Innovation since becoming Chair of the panel. During her hearing, Sinema highlighted her leadership of current bipartisan infrastructure negotiations and the need to invest in aviation infrastructure to ensure America’s airspace remains the safest and most reliable in the world.
“Over the past month, I have been leading bipartisan negotiations with Senator Portman to invest broadly in our nation’s infrastructure. Our bipartisan proposal has the support of 21 Senators, including ten Democrats and eleven Republicans. As we continue to negotiate that package, this subcommittee will examine our aviation system and its infrastructure needs. We have over 3,300 public airports in the United States, including nearly 200 just in Arizona. Throughout this vast system, we need to ensure that we have the aviation infrastructure to remain the world leader on safety, improve the efficiency of air travel, and modernize air travel for the 21st Century,” said Sinema, Chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Aviation Safety, Operations, and Innovation.
At the hearing, Sinema welcomed witnesses including: Danette Bewley, President and CEO of the Tucson Airport Authority, which operates Tucson International Airport and Ryan Airfield; Paul Cullen, Vice President for Real Estate at Southwest Airlines who is responsible for managing Southwest’s airport and facility assets, including long-term airport and facilities planning, development, design and construction; Paul Rinaldi, president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association where he represents almost 20,000 aviation safety professionals; Dr. Benjamin Miller, an economist at the RAND Corporation and a professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School who has focused his research on airport infrastructure funding; and Sean Donohue, CEO of Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, one of the busiest airports in the United States.
Sinema discussed her current efforts negotiating a bipartisan infrastructure package and the need to ensure America’s aviation infrastructure has the updates needed to remain the world leader in safety, efficiency, and modernization. Sinema highlighted the challenges posed on the aviation industry by the coronavirus pandemic, and the need to ensure the aviation industry is ready to respond as passenger and cargo traffic begins to increase with the economic and health recovery.
Sinema also highlighted the role her bipartisan AIR Act—legislation passed into law as part of the December coronavirus relief bill—played in helping stabilize federal funding for airports during the pandemic. Looking forward, Sinema called for Congress to consider her bipartisan Expedited Delivery of Airport Infrastructure Act to help encourage aviation infrastructure development. Sinema’s bipartisan bill allows airports to use Airport Improvement Program funds to incentivize contractors to finish airport construction projects ahead of schedule.