FAA Reauthorization bill passes House—some Oklahoma Representatives celebrate


Click here or on the image above to watch Congressman Lucas’s speech.


If and when President Biden signs the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2024 (H.R. 3935) into law, it will mean Oklahoma City’s FAA Mike Monroney Center will be busier than ever with the training of new air traffic controllers.

The House approved the measure on Wednesday with a vote of 387-26. One of its goals is to hire and train as many air traffic controllers to fill a need to fill 3,000 vacancies at the nation’s airport control towers. There would be research into how many controllers are needed at those towers. Further, it might also add to training simulators in more of the nation’s air traffic control towers.

Oklahoma Congressman Frank Lucas took to the House floor the day before the vote to urge approval of the measure.

“As Chairman of the Science, Space, and Technology committee, I’ve worked with my colleagues for over a year on this bill and I’m proud of the agreement we’ve come to with our Senate counterparts.”

The bill includes Rep. Lucas’s language for the FAA to submit a plan to Congress to improve air traffic controller training and set the air traffic controller hiring goal to the maximum number of students that can be trained.

“The Research and Development title of this bill provides a comprehensive safety framework and integration of emerging technologies into air travel. By preserving and protecting the House provisions of this bill, we’ve ensured that this is the most robust Research and Development title we’ve seen in an FAA bill,” explained Lucas in comments to the full House.

Some of the technology supported by Lucas would be installed to reduce the number of collisions and near-collisions on airport runways. Under the measure, the FAA will be required to install it at medium and large hub airports. It’s only now used at nearly three dozen US airports.

Not all of Oklahoma’s House members supported the measure. One of the 26 “no” votes came from Congressman Josh Brecheen. He has yet to issue a statement explaining his opposition to the FAA funding measure.

All the bill needs to become law for five years is the signature of President Biden. If signed, it would authorize more than $105 billion in funding for the Federal Aviation Administration and fund $738 million for the National Transportation Safety Board for fiscal years 2024 through 2028.

“This year’s FAA reauthorization includes provisions which expand and protect the Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center (MMAC), which trains about 20,000 air traffic control students every year. This campus is a huge part of our community, and I am proud it will remain the primary training center right here in Oklahoma,” said Rep. Stephanie Bice following the House vote on Wednesday.

One sticking point for some members of the House was to add longer-distance flights at Reagan National Airport outside of Washington, D.C. Supporters contended that more flights into Reagan will give more choices for consumers and also result in lower prices. Opponents maintained the additional flights would only increase congestion and create delays at the airport.