US Representative Garret Graves praised the importance of general aviation and rural airports during a visit to Houma.
Graves, R-Baton Rouge, on Thursday met with officials and businessmen involved in local aviation at the Houma-Terrebonne Airport Commission office.
Graves, a leading member of the House Aviation Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee, said rural airports are a trail for economic development and emergency response.
He praised Houma airport officials for involving the facility in researching large drones that can be used by the oil industry, other businesses and the military.
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In 2019, the Airports Commission received a Donation of $ 1.3 million from the US Department of Commerce adapt and modernize facilities to manage research. At the time, officials said the project, along with $ 337,000 in local money, is expected to help create 150 jobs, keep 70 jobs and generate $ 50 million in private investment.
“You all have the foresight, you have the vision to not only think about what we need today, but what we need in a decade or more, and I really appreciate what you have all done. for investments to pay for the future, “Graves said Thursday.” This place is really positioned, I think, to have an incredibly bright future in the innovation space. “
Graves spoke of the blockage in the US supply chain, which has caused shortages of some products, and the need to entice people into the aviation workforce.
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Graves also discussed the need to invest in infrastructure to keep the country at the forefront of aeronautical innovation.
âRepublicans, Democrats for decades, we have underinvested in infrastructure,â Graves said.
Graves voted against the bipartisan $ 1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that received final congressional approval on November 5. The bill, backed by Democratic President Joe Biden, allocates $ 25 billion for the maintenance, construction and modernization of airports in the United States.
Graves and several other Louisiana Republicans, including Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Metairie, wrote an open letter in October, complaining that the infrastructure bill was flawed and contained misplaced priorities.
“While we agree that our nation has long awaited significant infrastructure investments, the administration has already made it clear that it intends to politically manipulate who benefits,” the letter said.
“For starters, the bill provides less than 10% of new funding for roads, bridges and states like Louisiana, while pumping money into urban transit programs at $ 170 billion,” says the letter. “Sixty percent of those transit formula funds go to just ten metropolitan areas – and none are in Louisiana.”
Graves also spoke on Thursday about how general aviation companies and small airports served as a lifeline for emergency services and relief efforts after Hurricane Ida and other disasters.
âWe need to invest more money in the airport for money in the aviation systems because this is going to be absolutely essential for our recovery,â Graves said.