Safe, Sustainable, Equitable Transportation

Deputy Administrator A. Bradley Mims (March 1, 2021 - present)

Thank you, Rob [Hampshire]. I’m happy to be here, among friends I’ve worked with throughout my career.

Robert provided a good framing of the Biden administration priorities for transportation. I’d like to discuss how we’re meeting these priorities at the FAA, and also with our investments in the Federal Transit Administration.

Let’s start with safety – which is our highest priority. When it comes to safety, you have to be ahead of the curve. The FAA continues to take a proactive and data-informed approach.

We believe strongly in collecting, analyzing, evaluating, and sharing safety data with our stakeholders, and engaging them in the safety management process.

We’re taking the same proactive safety management approach to integrate the latest airspace vehicles – like drones, rockets, electric systems, and other new technologies – into the national airspace system.

The FAA is playing a part in supporting our nation’s economic strength. We continue to help the aviation industry recover from the economic impacts of COVID-19.

Airline passengers are coming back strong for leisure travel this summer, and we’re safely ramping up air traffic service as needed.

We took many steps to address the economic impact of the pandemic – for example, we provided $20 billion in grants to eligible U.S airports to keep airport workers employed and airports open and operating safely.

Robert also mentioned the priority of modernization, which supports our economic recovery. The FAA supports modernization by investing in our nation’s infrastructure through our Airport Improvement Program. In 2021, we’re planning to award more than 1,500 AIP grants, totaling approximately $3.2 billion in funding.

Later this summer, we are planning to announce an additional $400 million in Supplemental Discretionary grants. These funds support projects that improve airport safety and capacity, and create jobs—providing an economic catalyst to our communities across America.

Many of these investments are supporting the DOT’s goal to achieve equity in transportation. For example, we’re funding projects that will increase airport accessibility for remote communities (for instance, in Alaska), and improve airport access and amenities for people with disabilities.

In the Federal Transit Administration, the DOT is making sure that our policies and investments fully consider the importance of equity. Households of color are twice as likely to use public transportation, so it’s important to push

Transit has the ability to open doors by putting everyone – urban and rural, rich and poor – on a more level playing field. Rather than making infrastructure decisions that divide communities, like designing highways to cut through majority-minority neighborhoods, this Administration is focused on building connections, and providing access to opportunities.

President Biden’s American Jobs Plan directly addresses equity. The plan would put $20 billion toward expanding bus and rail service in new communities and neighborhoods.

This will reconnect neighborhoods cut off by gentrification and inequitable investments.

AIP funds are also supporting green projects – and that brings me to another DOT priority–Environmental Sustainability.

Under President Biden’s leadership, we’re tackling the climate crisis. The President announced a 2030 target to reduce our domestic greenhouse gas emissions by 50-52 percent compared to 2005 levels.

The Administration’s American Jobs Plan makes key investments in our nation’s sustainability efforts. Along with AIP funds, the FAA is pursuing a number of efforts to make flying greener.

As part of our Continuous Lower Energy, Emissions, and Noise Phase 3 program, we’re going to award $100 million for companies to develop technologies that reduce aircraft fuel use, emissions and noise.

We continue to pursue alternatives to PFAS-based firefighting foam, and research ways to develop sustainable aviation fuels.

And we continue to develop more fuel efficient air traffic procedures through NextGen and other efforts.

The final area I want to discuss today is the need to recruit a diverse, new generation workforce in aviation and aerospace.

We’re doing this in an equitable way. We need new pilots, engineers, dispatchers, air traffic controllers, drone operators, and aviation maintenance technicians and mechanics.

We also need cybersecurity specialists, data analysts, and other professionals who play an essential role in the aviation and aerospace industry.

We want the best, brightest, most diverse group of people from all walks of life, especially women and people of color, to be part of these fields.

The FAA is conducting education and career outreach in countless ways. We have a robust internship program for college and graduate students. We sponsor aviation education through an Adopt-a-School program and through the Airport Design Challenge.

This year, we started a $10-million aviation workforce grant program to support the training and education of pilots and aviation maintenance technicians.

And we have two federal committees that are helping us determine how we can attract more women and more young people into these fields.

In closing, the Biden administration believes that aviation, transit, and other forms of transportation are key enablers of opportunity for our citizens.

Federal policy and investments must ensure that we meet the priorities of safety, sustainability, and equity, while helping our nation build back better in the post-covid-19 world.

Thank you.