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Huizenga Legislation to Strengthen Economy, Improve Military Readiness in Battle Creek Headed to President’s Desk

Yesterday, the House passed the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2024 by a vote of 387 to 26. This measure is a five-year reauthorization designed to fix issues impacting air travel. Importantly, this measure includes two key provisions from Congressman Huizenga to strengthen economic opportunity in Battle Creek.

First, it includes Huizenga’s H.R. 8272, the Runway Integrity and Military Readiness Act, to defend Battle Creek’s runway from wasteful bureaucratic overreach while supporting our national security. Specifically, it prevents the Secretary of Transportation from requiring an airport to shorten or narrow its runway as a condition for funding if the airport supports an Air Force or Air National Guard base at the airport. This amendment would put to rest any efforts by the FAA to require Battle Creek Executive Airport (BTL) to shorten its 10,002-foot runway as a condition for maintenance and improvement funding. Not only has the community invested in the runway’s current length, but it is also critical to the ongoing and future missions of the Michigan Air National Guard.

Second, the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2024 includes a Huizenga Amendment to the Advanced Air Mobility Infrastructure Pilot Program. Specifically, it requires the Secretary of Transportation -- in the process of awarding grants under the Advanced Air Mobility Infrastructure Pilot Program -- to also prioritize eligible entities that collaborate with the Department of Defense or National Guard. This amendment recognizes the nexus of our national security and advanced air mobility, an area in which BTL is poised to lead in the future.

“This important FAA Reauthorization will maintain our strong safety standards, reduce delays for passengers, and positively impact Battle Creek,” said Congressman Bill Huizenga. “Battle Creek Executive Airport is unique because it serves as an innovative economic driver for Southwest Michigan while also playing an integral role in our national defense as the home of the Battle Creek Air National Guard. My provisions included in this legislation will preserve the airport’s runway and stop bureaucrats at the Department of Transportation from eliminating federal funding opportunities. Additionally, this bill will protect the airport’s competitiveness for federal advanced air mobility transportation grants. These important steps will strengthen Battle Creek economically and positively position Battle Creek for additional opportunities in the future.”

“Thank you, Congressman Huizenga, for securing these critical amendments to protect our airport and increase economic development in the future.” – Joe Sobieralski, President & CEO, Battle Creek Unlimited

“On behalf of the city of Battle Creek, I applaud Congressman Huizenga’s dedication to preserving our airport and the city’s economic future.” – Mark Behnke, Mayor of Battle Creek

This legislation passed the U.S. Senate last week by a vote of 88 to 4 and after passing the House yesterday, it will head to President Biden’s desk for his signature.

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