SCHUMER REVEALS: GRIFFISS HAS NEW CHANCE TO LAND CRITICAL FED FUNDS TO KEEP COMMERCIAL UAS PROGRESS AT FAA TEST SITE GOING STRONG; SENATOR LAUNCHES PUSH TO PASS FUNDING IN UPCOMING TRANSPO BILL & DIRECT NEW FED RESOURCES TO ONEIDA COUNTY’S NATIONALLY KNOWN UAS TEST SITE
In 2014, Schumer Led The Charge To Get The FAA To Choose Griffiss And Its Partner NUAIR, As One Of 7 Test Sites Nationwide, Putting Region On The Map As A Leader In Developing Safe UAS Commercial Technologies & Growing Jobs In CNY
Senator Details Push To Pass Bill With First-Ever Funding Stream Specifically For Test Sites & For The FAA To Send Some Of The $6 Million To Griffiss For Continued UAS Integration Research
Schumer: Griffiss Is Flying High With UAS & Drone Innovation And Deserves Fed Funds To Go Even Higher
Standing at the Griffiss UAS Test Site Operations Center, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today launched a major push to include new funding for programs that will benefit the New York unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) Test Site located at Griffiss International Airport in the final, Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations (THUD) bill. Schumer explained that there are seven UAS test sites across the country, and that for the first time ever, the Senate created a funding stream of $6 million for the test sites in their version of the FY19 THUD appropriations bill.
Now, Schumer is calling on his colleagues in Congress to include this vital funding in the final FY19 THUD appropriations bill, and for the FAA to then direct some of that money to the Griffiss Test Site & the NUAIR Alliance. Schumer explained that this funding would ensure that the New York UAS Test Site at Griffiss International Airport, which is led by Oneida County and the NUAIR Alliance, remains at the forefront of public policy development, commercialization, and safe integration of UAS into the global airspace. Since Schumer’s successful push to establish the New York Test Site in 2014, it has worked with over 200 partners to advance UAS research and to accelerate UAS industry economic development in the region.
“The UAS Test Site we worked so hard to secure at Griffiss International Airport has made the Mohawk Valley and Central New York a critical hub of UAS innovation, creating jobs and boosting both our understanding of this critical technology and the regional economy. Now, the time has come for the federal government to invest federal funds to support and grow the critical work and research being done at the Griffiss Test Site,” said Senator Schumer. “That’s why today, I’m calling on my colleagues in Congress to pass $6 million in funding for the UAS Test Sites in the upcoming THUD appropriations bill, and once they do, for the FAA to direct some of that funding to Griffiss and NUAIR. I’m proud of the role I played in establishing the Griffiss Test Site back in 2014, and will keep fighting to ensure that the Mohawk Valley and Central New York stays at the forefront of public policy development, commercialization, and safe integration of UAS into the global airspace.”
Schumer explained that for the first time ever, the FY19 Senate THUD bill provides $6 million for UAS integration research efforts at the UAS test sites. Schumer said that this was a significant step in the right direction, as the federal government has not dedicated money specifically for the test sites since they were established in 2014. Schumer added that the Griffiss Test Site has played an important role in helping industry leaders, academia and the federal government make critical decisions required to integrate UAS into the national airspace. This first-ever dedicated funding stream will only increase that role by allowing Griffiss and NUAIR to leverage federal resources and attract new partners. Therefore, Schumer urged his colleagues in Congress to ensure that the $6 million in FAA funding for integration research efforts at the UAS test sites is included in the final FY19 THUD bill that becomes law.
Additionally, Schumer said that once this $6 million in funding is passed, some of it must be directed to the New York UAS Test Site at Griffiss International Airport. Schumer highlighted important work currently being conducted by NUAIR and Oneida County as one of the reasons why this funding is so important. In response to current challenges faced by the UAS industry, the FAA assigned a topic for each site to focus on. For Griffiss and the NUAIR alliance, they are tasked with concentrating on the UAS industry’s inability to comply with “see and avoid” flight requirements because of the lack of an on-board pilot. This has spurred state and private investment that has allowed NUAIR and its alliance partners to deploy state-of-the-art range instrumentation which can track UAS in the air and provide safety-enhancing sense and avoid capabilities. This testing capability, which spans a 50-mile corridor from Rome to Syracuse, was the first of its kind at any UAS test site and has made Griffiss International Airport a strategic location for the emerging UAS industry.
Schumer explained that the New York UAS Test Site at Griffiss helped establish Central New York and Mohawk Valley as a national hub for UAS research and development. According to New York State, it is projected that the UAS industry will create at least 200 more jobs and spur over $40 million worth of private investment in the region within the next year. Schumer said that as UAS technology continues to transform industries across our economy, it is time for the federal government to support critical research at the New York UAS Test Site in order to ensure that Central New York and the Mohawk Valley maintain its status as a national hub of UAS innovation.
Schumer has long been an advocate for bringing UAS jobs and technology to Central New York and the Mohawk Valley. Schumer fought to increase the number of test sites in the National Airspace System for Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) from 4 to 7, which paved the way for NUAIR and Oneida County to apply. Through local meetings with NUAIR and Oneida County officials, a series of personal phone calls and meetings with former FAA Administrator Michael Huerta and former Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, Schumer worked to make the case that the FAA should select NUAIR’s application, led by Griffiss International Airport, to be one of the seven national test sites for unmanned aerial systems (UAS) designation, and the FAA and U.S. Department of Transportation eventually heeded Schumer’s call. Additionally, earlier this month, Schumer announced that following his push, the FAA Reauthorization bill included language extending the designation for the New York UAS Test Site until 2023.
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