Saturday, August 28, 2021

Dave Tripp: National airspace also critical infrastructure

As an air traffic controller, constituent, and member of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) in North Dakota, I’d like to thank Senator John Hoeven for his vote in support of the bipartisan infrastructure bill that recently passed in the U.S. Senate.

Senator Hoeven understands the importance of investing in physical infrastructure in North Dakota and throughout the United States. Our National Airspace System (NAS) is a critical component of our infrastructure: It moves people and cargo safer and more efficiently than any other airspace in the world.

To ensure that America’s NAS remains the gold standard, this bill contains funding to repair or replace air traffic control facilities and equipment across the country. For years, there has been an urgent need to make these improvements. Some air traffic facilities have long exceeded their lifespan while many others suffer from major physical infrastructure issues. For example, Bismarck Air Traffic Control Tower is 48 years old and in need of significant repairs and maybe even complete replacement.

Additionally, infrastructure investments are vital to the safe integration of new technologies, including Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS). The University of North Dakota’s School of Aerospace Sciences is a national leader in UAS education and research. UND Aerospace and their partners utilizes Red River AFB for UAS testing and research. The bipartisan infrastructure bill will help support infrastructure and technology necessary for maintaining North Dakota’s standing in aviation.

Improvements to our aging facilities will result in more jobs for the American people and deliver benefits to our economy and the flying public alike.

Thank you, again, Senator Hoeven, for your vote in support of the infrastructure bill and investing in North Dakota’s aviation infrastructure and workforce.

Dave Tripp, Bismarck

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