WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman said he is pleased a bill that clears the Senate today will invest in New Mexico’s airport infrastructure and in the state’s economy.
The FAA Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act continues funding for a number of programs that are important to New Mexico and the nation. Among them, the Airport Improvement Program, which provides grants for construction of runways and taxiways that help make airports safer.
“The aviation industry, both commercial and private general aviation, is vital to promoting economic growth and development in our state,” Bingaman said. “Last year, New Mexico’s airports received over $31 million for airport improvement projects to upgrade facilities for both general aviation and commercial passenger service all across the state. These projects helped create hundreds of jobs in the construction industry in New Mexico,” Bingaman said.
Bingaman voted against a measure that would have eliminated the Essential Air Service (EAS) program, which helps 150 rural communities in 36 states retain commercial air service. Without EAS, many rural communities would have no commercial air service at all. New Mexico’s has four EAS communities: Alamogordo, Carlsbad, Clovis and Silver City.
“New Mexico relies on commercial air service to help bring businesses and jobs to rural part of the state. I am pleased we were able to defeat a measure that would have terminated this crucial service,” Bingaman said.
The bill also includes a provision introduced by Senator Tom Udall and Bingaman that authorizes a land exchange between Do