Washington Report, Jul-Aug 2022
West Virginia Enacts AAM Bills
On March 12, the West Virginia Legislature passed two pieces of legislation aimed at encouraging future AAM operations. House Bill 4667 prohibits county and local jurisdictions from creating restrictions on AAM operations or aircraft, while House Bill 4827 promotes the development of public-use vertiports, among other conditions. West Virginia Governor Jim Justice signed the two bills into law later in the month.
The actions have attracted industry interest for both the unlikely source — most AAM efforts to date have been focused on providing services to cities rather than to rural communities — and the role that Supernal, Hyundai’s AAM division, played in lobbying in favor for the bills. Some industry observers have warned that the legislation could inadvertently result in a patchwork of rules across the country, with states adopting different approaches to regulating AAM companies.
Congress Introduces AAM Infrastructure Bill
On May 18, two US senators introduced legislation designed to help local communities prepare for the introduction of advanced air mobility (AAM) technologies. The Advanced Aviation Infrastructure Modernization (AAIM) Act, S.4246, is sponsored by US Senators Alex Padilla (D-California) and Jerry Moran (R-Kansas) and passed by the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee on May 25.
The AAIM Act directs the Secretary of Transportation to establish a pilot program that would provide grants to local, state and tribal jurisdictions to develop plans for AAM infrastructure. Some of these plans could include the identification of planned vertiport sites or of the physical and digital infrastructure required to support AAM operations.
On June 14, the House of Representatives passed nearly identical legislation, H.R. 6270. It was introduced in December by Representatives Rick Larsen (D-Washington), Garret Graves (R-Louisiana) and Dina Titus (D-Nevada) and had nearly 30 bipartisan co-sponsors.
The legislation is the latest effort by Congress to address AAM technologies and operations. In March, the Senate passed the AAM Coordination and Leadership Act (see “Washington Report,” Vertiflite, May/June 2022). That bill, a similar version of which passed the House of Representatives in November, would create an interagency working group to focus on creating AAM networks across the country.