Hoeven: Transportation Appropriations Bill Includes $15 Million to Integrate UAS into National Air Space

Senator Worked to Include Language Requiring the FAA to Use National UAS Test Sites

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today announced that the Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Bill, which was recently approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee, includes nearly $15 million to continue efforts to integrate unmanned aerial systems (UAS) into the national airspace (NAS).

As a member of the committee, Hoeven worked to secure the funds and to include language that requires that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) use the six national UAS test sites to conduct flight operations aimed at this integration. Further, within the $15 million provided by the bill, $5 million is dedicated for research conducted through the UAS Center of Excellence, which is co-led by the University of North Dakota.

“This funding bill supports the important work of our national test sites, like the Northern Plains site in North Dakota, to safely integrate UAS operations into our national airspace,” Hoeven said. “That will help us make better use of this technology across a wide range of activities, such as agriculture and border security, while also securing our continued leadership in this vibrant and growing industry.”

Hoeven has worked, both as governor and now as senator, to establish and maintain North Dakota’s leadership in UAS technologies. Among other things, he led the effort to establish the six national test sites to focus on UAS airspace integration and worked closely with the UAS community in North Dakota to bring one of the sites to the state. The FAA selected North Dakota as a test site on December 30, 2013.