Washington (March 29, 2023) – Senator Edward J.
Markey (D-Mass.) today introduced the Airport Infrastructure Resilience
Act, legislation that would direct the Secretary of Transportation to
create a pilot program to provide grants to airports for the planning, design,
and construction of projects that improve their climate resilience and ensure
airports are ready to respond to climate change, extreme weather events, and
natural disasters. A recent report by
the Brookings Institution underscored how a lack of dedicated funding for
airports to increase their climate resilience poses dire economic and
environmental security risks – finding that an estimated 24 U.S. airports,
carrying a quarter of all passengers in 2019, will experience some level of
flooding by 2050.
“From melting runways to increased flooding, our airports are under dire threat from climate change, extreme weather events, and natural disasters. We need an aviation system that is ready and able to respond to these crises,” said Senator Markey. “My Airport Infrastructure Resilience Act will ensure airports across our nation have access to the funds they desperately need to plan and prepare for the climate crisis’s most severe impacts on our infrastructure. I am fighting to ensure the upcoming Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization will create a resilient aviation system that is ready to respond to climate change, extreme weather events, and natural disasters.”
A copy of the legislation can be found HERE.
The Airport Infrastructure Resilience Act is endorsed by Airports Council International – North America, American Association of Airport Executives, and Massachusetts Port Authority.
“Critical infrastructure operators like airports already are grappling with the damaging effects of rising sea levels and destructive weather events. Airports remain committed to strengthening their facilities to address changing conditions. We greatly appreciate Senator Markey’s leadership in introducing this important legislation to help support airports across the country in their resiliency planning, design, and construction efforts,” said Kevin M. Burke, President and CEO of Airports Council International – North America.
“Senator Markey’s legislation aligns with Massport’s greater Net Zero initiative and we are grateful for his partnership in our efforts to reduce the short and long term risks of climate change at our airports and in our neighboring communities,” said Lisa Wieland, CEO of Massport.
“The Airport Infrastructure Resilience Act of 2023 is an important step toward ensuring the resiliency of our nation’s airports to worsening extreme weather events and sea-level rise. The insights gained from the legislation’s proposed pilot projects will help inform the resilience choices communities will need to make to ensure the continued functionality of their airports in a changing climate,” said Alice C. Hill, David M. Rubenstein Senior Fellow for Energy and the Environment at the Council on Foreign Relations.
In March, Senators Markey, Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.), and Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) introduced Airline Operational Resiliency Act, bipartisan legislation to ensure that airline companies are ready to respond to extreme weather events. Amid Winter Storm Elliot in January, Senator Markey led his colleagues in a letter to Southwest Airlines demanding that the company answer for its mass flight cancellations. The senators asked Southwest CEO Robert E. Jordan to explain the causes of this holiday debacle, including the company’s outdated scheduling software, decision-making process, ticket refund policies, passenger baggage decisions, and passenger compensation. In February, Senator Markey questioned Chief Operating Officer of Southwest Andrew Watterson in a Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation hearing on the need to hold airline companies accountable for leaving passengers stranded during extreme weather conditions.