Congress takes action to support development of advanced air mobility

With the FAA final Engineering thesis for Vertiport Design Expected to be released in the coming months, this summer has seen an increase in congressional activity to support the development of advanced air mobility (AAM) infrastructure needed for eVTOL and UAS operations. Following the adoption by the House of the Advanced Air Mobility Coordination and Leadership Act (AAMCLA), in 2021, the Senate passed a companion invoice in March 2022 which was recently approved (and amended) by the House in June 2022. The bill has since been returned to the Senate.

Advanced Air Mobility Coordination and Leadership Act

The Senate and House versions of AAMCLA seek to establish an interagency task force that would be tasked with developing recommendations regarding federal support of AAM’s “security, operations, security, cybersecurity, [and] infrastructure development. The task force would be made up of representatives from the FAA, the Departments of Transportation, Defense, Energy, Homeland Security and the Federal Communications Commission.

The Advanced Aviation Infrastructure Modernization Act

The AAIMA is designed to provide grants to local land use planners, government agencies and airports seeking to develop AAM infrastructure. As currently, the law would provide $25 million to the DOT and FAA to fund the proposed grant program. In both versions of the bill, parties eligible for funding would include state and local governments, airport sponsors, transit authorities, metropolitan planning organizations and port authorities.

Importantly, for private sector investment in AAM infrastructure, the bills would prioritize grants for public-private partnerships.

And after

While there is still work to be done to reconcile the differences between the versions passed by the House and the Senate before they are enacted, Congressional support for AAM and eVTOL infrastructure – particularly for public-private partnerships – is good news for AAM stakeholders. . Stay tuned for updates and information on the impact of these invoices and any finalized guidance from FAA Vertiport Design on the development and regulatory certification of AAM infrastructure.

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Sara H. Byrd