Murkowski Votes to Have Essential Air Service Funded Through 2015

FAA Bill Gives “Alaska’s Intrastate Highway” Certainty, Updates Nation’s Aviation Technology

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Murkowski today voted for the first FAA reauthorization since 2007 – after a series of 23 short-term extensions – giving needed certainty to Alaska’s aviation industry and a 21st century infrastructure to the nation’s airways.   The FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 passed the Senate 75-20.

“I’m always stressing to my Senate colleagues that Alaska’s intrastate highway system is our skies – linking communities like Nikolski and Icy Bay to the rural hubs – so it’s imperative we keep them connected,” Murkowski said. “Last summer, 79 Alaskans were furloughed and necessary projects were postponed statewide as FAA negotiations stalled, and this bipartisan reauthorization bill gives our state certainty for years to come.”

Today’s passage of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 contains several provisions that are beneficial to Alaska:

Essential Air Service – Alaska program funding will continue a minimal amount of commercial air traffic to 44 remote locations around the state.

Oxygen Canisters – Alaska received an exemption from federal rules so that oxygen canisters can be transported via passenger air simply and affordably, if there is not a regular cargo route for a community.

Next Generation Air Traffic Control System – The bill provides funding for the “Next Gen” aviation plan that will make our future airspace safer, efficient and more cost effective.

Airport Improvement Program (AIP) –$3.35B/year will be distributed nationwide, meaning improved runway safety areas in Alaska, along with greater rural access, pavement condition and general facility safety and security.