Representatives Doug LaMalfa, Derek Kilmer and Earl Blumenauer introduced the Resilient Airports Act, a bipartisan effort to improve emergency and disaster response capabilities at airports nationwide, including those located in rural communities.
The bill would expand the Airport Improvement Program eligibility criteria, enabling more airports to receive funding for crucial infrastructure projects aimed at enhancing resilience against earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, wildfires, and other natural disasters. Also, the bill would help to ensure that general aviation airports designated as federal staging areas by the Federal Emergency Management Agency are eligible for AIP funds.
“Ensuring that airports are prepared in event of an emergency is critical, especially in rural America,” said LaMalfa. “In California, and throughout the West, rural airports serve as essential infrastructure. Their close proximity greatly aids wildland firefighters and first responders to act quickly and help those in need.”
“I can’t emphasize enough the importance of our airports in times of crisis, particularly for the folks in Washington’s rural communities,” said Kilmer. “Out on the Olympic Peninsula, airports are the backbone of our emergency response systems – yet they’re not invulnerable to natural disasters or the impacts of climate change. Congress should step up to help guarantee our airports have the resources they need to stay strong and reliable, because when our airports are resilient, our communities are too.”
“In the event of a major earthquake in Oregon, resilient runways will literally be a matter of life or death,” said Blumenauer. “The federal government must ensure our nation’s airports are prepared to withstand major disasters like earthquakes, floods and other disasters. The Resilient Airports Act will do just that by unlocking essential funding to allow the construction of resiliency projects across the country.”
Currently, the Federal Aviation Administration provides AIP grants to public agencies – and, in some cases, to private owners and entities – for the planning and development of public-use airports that are included in the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems.
The Resilient Airports Act is endorsed by the Port of Port Angeles and Port of Portland.