Win for Ohio airport infrastructure, safety


Last month, the president signed the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act of 2024 into law, which includes wins we secured for airports across Ohio and important steps to keep air travel safe.

In Youngstown, we redesignated the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport as a primary airport. It’s a major win for the whole region.

The designation will help bring more resources to Youngstown and open the doors for getting commercial flights back to the airport – something I’ll keep fighting for.

This designation is also crucial for the future of the Youngstown Air Reserve Station (YARS). The airport and YARS are so intertwined, they even share the same runway. Maintaining the runway for aircrafts and improving other airport infrastructure is crucial for both YARS and the commercial airport – especially because the Air Force selected the 910th Airlift Wing at YARS as the location for new C-130J aircraft. These massive, state of the art planes will arrive later this year, and they need a modern, well-maintained runway.

We also worked to include investments in airports across our state to make sure they have what they need to be the best in the country. It will mean investments in airport infrastructure – from terminal renovations to runway maintenance. Cities across Ohio rely on these investments to maintain and upgrade their airports.

And this law will also help relieve shortages of air traffic controllers around the state, at both airports and the Cleveland Air Route Traffic Control Center, which keeps every plane flying over Ohio and the entire Midwest safe. We know too many airports in Ohio and Control Centers face shortages of these crucial workers. And we’ve seen too many near-misses recently, both on runways and in the air. It’s unacceptable. We need more skilled, well-trained workers to keep us safe in the air and prevent flight delays. The package will allow for the hiring of more controllers in Ohio, and it will help with training and retention of workers.

Finally, we secured provisions to support the work Ohioans are doing in Springfield at the National Advanced Air Mobility Center of Excellence on advanced air mobility powered-lift aircraft that work in partnership with the Air Force Research Laboratory, NASA Glenn, local colleges and universities, and private industries. We worked to bring these aircraft, known as “flying cars,” to Ohio at companies like Joby Aviation. I made sure we invested even more in the future of Ohio workers and Ohio talent.

With this law, we took important steps to keep air travel safe in the United States while securing important improvements for airports and aviation workers across Ohio. I’ll always fight for our state and our priorities.

Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) represents the state in the U.S. Senate.

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