Public Law 105 - 508, SEC. 9209. AVIATION RESEARCH AND CENTERS OF EXCELLENCE.

  1. IN GENERAL- Section 312 of the Federal Aviation Act of 1958 (49 App. U.S.C. 1353) is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:
    (i) AVIATION RESEARCH AND CENTERS OF EXCELLENCE-
    1. GENERAL AUTHORITY- The Administrator may make grants to one or more colleges or universities to establish and operate several regional centers of air transportation excellence, whose locations shall be geographically equitable.
    2. RESPONSIBILITIES- The responsibilities of each regional center of air transportation excellence established under this subsection shall include, but not be limited to, the conduct of research concerning airspace and airport planning and design, airport capacity enhancement techniques, human performance in the air transportation environment, aviation safety and security, the supply of trained air transportation personnel including pilots and mechanics, and other aviation issues pertinent to developing and maintaining a safe and efficient air transportation system, and the interpretation, publication, and dissemination of the results of such research. In conducting such research, each center may contract with nonprofit research organizations and other appropriate persons.
    3. APPLICATION- Any college or university interested in receiving a grant under this subsection shall submit to the Administrator an application in such form and containing such information as the Administrator may require by regulation.
    4. SELECTION CRITERIA- The Administrator shall select recipients of grants under this subsection on the basis of the following criteria:
      1. The extent to which the needs of the State in which the applicant is located are representative of the needs of the region for improved air transportation services and facilities.
      2. The demonstrated research and extension resources available to the applicant for carrying out this subsection.
      3. The capability of the applicant to provide leadership in making national and regional contributions to the solution of both long-range and immediate air transportation problems.
      4. The extent to which the applicant has an established air transportation program.
      5. The demonstrated ability of the applicant to disseminate results of air transportation research and educational programs through a statewide or regionwide continuing education program.
      6. The projects which the applicant proposes to carry out under the grant.
    5. MAINTENANCE OF EFFORT- No grant may be made under this subsection in any fiscal year unless the recipient of such grant enters into such agreements with the Administrator as the Administrator may require to ensure that such recipient will maintain its aggregate expenditures from all other sources for establishing and operating a regional center of air transportation excellence and related research activities at or above the average level of such expenditures in its 2 fiscal years preceding the date of enactment of this subsection.
    6. FEDERAL SHARE- The Federal share of a grant under this subsection shall be 50 percent of the costs of establishing and operating the regional center of air transportation excellence and related research activities carried out by the grant recipient.
    7. ALLOCATION OF FUNDS- Funds made available to carry out this subsection shall be allocated by the Administrator in a geographically equitable manner.'.
  2. RESEARCH ADVISORY COMMITTEE-
    1. Section 312(f)(2) of the Federal Aviation Act of 1958 (49 App. U.S.C. 1353(f)(2)) is amended by adding at the end the following new sentence: In addition, the committee shall review the research and training to be carried out by the regional centers of air transportation excellence established under subsection (h).
    2. Section 312(f)(3) of the Federal Aviation Act of 1958 (49 App. U.S.C. 1353(f)(3)) is amended--
      1. by striking `20' and inserting `30'; and
      2. by striking the last sentence and inserting the following: `The Administrator in appointing the members of the committee shall ensure that the research centers of air transportation excellence, universities, corporations, associations, consumers, and other Government agencies are represented.