Reid Leads Passage of Bill to Improve Air Travel Safety and Create Jobs

Washington, DC – Nevada Senator Harry Reid today led the U.S. Senate in passing the FAA Reauthorization Act, legislation that will create jobs while improving the safety and efficiency of America’s air travel system. Some of our nation’s airports still use technology that dates back to the WWII era. This bill changes that by investing $500 million in next generation aviation technology to modernize air traffic control facilities. Additionally, the FAA Reauthorization Act invests $17 million in programs to create or save up to 150,000 jobs nationwide.
 
“It is long past time that we make these much needed upgrades to America’s air travel system,” Reid said. “Now that our nation’s economy is recovering and we have passed legislation to help boost tourism in Nevada, this bill will help ensure a safer travel experience and put Nevadans back to work in the process.”
 
Following is a list of some projects in Nevada that have been on hold and will now be able to move forward. These construction projects will create jobs for Nevadans and make much needed improvements to McCarran International and North Las Vegas airports:
 
Location: McCarran International Airport
Project: C-Gate apron replacement
Amount: $38,460,000
Description: This funding will be used to replace approximately 38.2M square yards of apron pavement. The project are includes 19 aircraft gates and must be phased to allow for maximum gate utilization during construction. The project will enhance operational safety and reduce airport foreign object debris, and must be completed prior to the opening of the new terminal or by 5/01/12 or severe operational and capacity issues will be encountered.
 
Location: McCarran International Airport
Project: East Lot RON construction
Amount: $21,000,000
Description: Changes in airline business models have resulted in increased demand for overnight aircraft parking. This project includes pavement and building demolition, grading and embankment, relocation of utilities, paving with asphalt and concrete pavements, overhead lighting and signage.
 
Location: North Las Vegas Airport
Project: Airfield improvements
Amount: $5,340,000
Description: This funding will go toward pavement projects at the North Las Vegas Airport including pavement replacement, marking updates, drainage channel covering and airfield slurry seal. Each of the projects will increase safety and a majority of the projects were proposed by the FAA Runway Safety Action Team to increase airfield safety.
 
In addition to ensuring that these important Nevada projects are able to move forward, Sen. Reid worked with his colleagues to add amendments to the bill that will benefit Nevada.
 
Noise Amendment: The Southern Nevada Public Lands Management Act of 1998 (SNPLMA) established an “Airport Environs Overlay District” covering 5,000 acres of desert land west of McCarran International Airport. Since 1998, these lands have been sold with deed restrictions to prohibit activities that are not compatible (such as residential and transient housing) with the noise levels from arriving and departing aircraft. As older and noisier aircraft have been retired, the noise “footprint” of arriving and departing aircraft has shrunk by almost half, making the deed restrictions on much of the 5,000 acres no longer necessary. This amendment will permit the Clark County Department of Aviation to release deed restrictions against transient housing and other specified uses in areas below the 65 LDN noise levels. This will permit additional, less restricted development on the affected parcels. The amendment will also encourage new types of economic development to occur with the additional revenues accruing to the SNPLMA special account.
 
Ivanpah Flood Detention Basins: In preparing the feasibility and environmental studies for the new Ivanpah Airport, Clark County Department of Aviation identified a need to acquire several small parcels of BLM land to construct off-airport flood control detention facilities. The location and need for these facilities was not anticipated at the time of the two prior Congressional land transfer statutes as the environmental review process has revealed the need for these additional facilities to protect the airport from a 100-year flood. These parcels include two sections in the Roach Lake playa and other parcels of land in the Goodsprings and Lucy Gray basins. The amendment would transfer these parcels to the Department of Aviation once the EIS for the Ivanpah Airport has been approved. The amendment would not eliminate the federal, local and state regulatory requirements implicated in constructing and operating these facilities. The lands would revert back to the BLM if the detention basins are not constructed for any reason.