House of Representatives Transportation Committee meeting this week to consider amendments to FAA bill
As members of the House of Representatives Transportation Committee met to consider amendments to legislation providing reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration, Congressman Brian Higgins took to the House floor urging his colleagues to reject amendments aimed at diminishing flight safety progress achieved since the crash of Flight 3407.
Feb. 12 marks the seventh anniversary of the tragic crash of Colgan Air Flight 3407, which took place in Western New York. Higgins, along with the families of the crash victims and members of the Western New York delegation, fought for changes to flight safety provisions based on lessons learned following the 2009 crash. These changes were included in legislation approved in 2010.
Higgins spoke Thursday about new attempts to "water down" those safety measures.
"Mr. speaker: In 2010, Congress passed landmark aviation safety legislation," Higgins explained. "The provisions of this law reflected the recommendations of the National Transportation Safety Board, which - tragically - were given urgency after the crash of Continental Flight 3407 near Buffalo, New York.
"The families of those who were lost in the crash turned their grief into purpose, and led a relentless and heroic campaign to pass this law.
"Years later - at this very moment in fact - the families are across the street at a committee markup of the FAA authorization bill, amid rumors that the regional airlines might encourage amendments to water down these safety reforms.
"I want the families to know that they are not in this alone. The Western New York congressional delegation will fight alongside them against attempts to weaken aviation safety standards.
"Tomorrow marks the seventh anniversary of the crash. I call on this House not to forget it."
On Feb. 2, Higgins joined the Flight 3407 families and the Western New York delegation at a news conference in Washington, D.C., relaunching the push to protect the improved aviation safety regulations. Higgins also led a letter with other members of the House of Representatives pressing committee leadership to refuse attempts to undermine pilot qualification standards.
On Feb. 3, Transportation Committee Chairman Congressman Bill Shuster introduced the Aviation, Innovation, Reform & Reauthorization (AIRR) Act, a bill reauthorizing the FAA. The committee met Thursday to consider amendments to the legislation.
The deadline for FAA reauthorization is March 31.