As expected, Washington Representative Rick Larsen was appointed to lead the Democrats on the Aviation Subcommittee of the Transportation Committee. Larsen was Ranking for the Coast Guard Subcommittee in the last Congress. He served on the Aviation Subcommittee during the 110th Congress.
The Subcommittee has jurisdiction over all aspects of civil aviation including safety, infrastructure, labor, commerce and international issues, and oversees the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Larsen, a 7th-term Representative and long-time member of the Transportation Committee, is well-acquainted with aviation issues. His district includes the Boeing Everett Factory where the 747s, 767s, 777s, 787s and the new Air Force KC-46A tankers are manufactured. Dozens of small- and medium-sized aerospace suppliers, Paine Field, and seven smaller public airports and numerous private airfields are also in the District.
On the Northwest aspect of his new position, Larsen commented that
“The Pacific Northwest is the aerospace capital of the world, and I will work hard to make sure the United States invests in our aviation future. Aviation means jobs in Northwest Washington. Anything I can do to support the growth and safety of air travel will bring good jobs to our communities.”
On the national aspects of his new position Larsen observed that
“By investing in critical aviation infrastructure like airports and air traffic control systems, U.S. airlines will be able to support more flights and buy more planes from our manufacturers. . . .The growth of aviation depends on a strong safety system that makes sure planes, passengers and crew members are secure. The safety work that FAA employees perform helps make sure that all parts of air travel are safe, from the planes we fly on to the management of the airspace to the training of pilots and flight attendants. I look forward to working with the FAA to make sure they have the resources they need to ensure air safety and adapt to new growth and innovation.
A healthy aviation industry depends on strong competition and fairness, among both airlines and manufacturers. As airlines consolidate, Congress must evaluate how customers are affected in terms of both service and ticket prices. On the manufacturing side, I maintain my strong belief that American workers will provide the best products when they can compete on an even playing field.
Small aerospace manufacturers are indispensable in the construction of aircraft, yet face unique challenges that we should work to lessen. I will work to put small businesses on an even playing field with larger suppliers by making sure the FAA streamlines its testing and safety certification process for new technology and equipment.
The aviation industry faces many exciting challenges and opportunities in the years ahead. We need to fully implement the Next Generation Air Transportation System to take advantage of satellite technology that saves fuel and cuts delays. We must continue investing in the next generation of green fuels to cut the carbon footprint of aviation and ensure its sustainability.
The next generation of air traffic control depends not only on technology, but on the workforce that wields it. Congress must invest in training new air traffic controllers to replace today’s aging and retiring workers.”
Larsen also noted that he “looks forward to continue working with Rep. Frank LoBiondo who will chair the Subcommittee. Rep. LoBiondo and I forged a strong bipartisan relationship as the leaders of the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee, and I am confident that he and I will work well together with a similar bipartisan spirit.”
Read Larsen’s bio.