To watch Senator Capito’s questioning, click here or the image above.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), a member of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee and the Senate Appropriations Committee, participated in a Commerce Committee hearing today to review the FY2023 Department of Transportation (DOT) Budget Priorities. Senator Capito discussed the importance of continued support for West Virginia’s airports with DOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg, as well as how the department is addressing pilot and aviation worker shortages, and the multiple West Virginia education institutions helping prepare future workers in this field.


ON YEAGER AIRPORT’S TAXIWAY PROJECT: “First, I'd like to comment on Taxiway A Relocation Project at West Virginia International Yeager airport, which is my airport where I fly in and out of. Yeager does not meet the FAA modern design standards because its taxiway, Taxiway A, is too close to the airport’s sole runway. So we have a relocation project, which would [correct] this issue, and I support the FAA allowing the project to proceed as a category exclusion. This issue is before the FAA, but I wanted to put it on your radar screen.”

ENSURING DOT PRIORITIZES WEST VIRGINIA’S FOUR AIRPORTS WITH CONTRACT TOWERS: “I wanted to also call to your attention the FAA Contract Tower Program. This is really important for our aviation safety. We have four airports in the state of West Virginia. And also Congress created the competitive grant program, which allocates $20 million annually for five years. Will you and your team work with us to ensure that the contract tower program continues to play a key role in our nation's aviation systems?”

ON ADDRESSING WORKFORCE ISSUES, PILOT SHORTAGES: “Let me ask you about the workforce issues. We just had Spirit Airlines…has a seasonal flight out of the Charleston airport that goes from Yeager airport to Myrtle Beach every summer, very popular. They canceled that flight for the summer stating that they didn't have the workforce, and I'm assuming it's the pilots, but I don't know that it's the only part of the workforce that's having the great challenge. What are we going to do about this? I mean, this is system-wide. Sky West…is another one that impacts our Clarksburg Airport. How are you working at the department to meet this challenge?”

WEST VIRGINIA PREPARING THE NEXT GENERATION OF PILOTS, AVIATION WORKERS: “We have the development of aviation school in West Virginia right now through Marshall University. And we have one at Fairmont, and I understand Shepherd is going to get into that space as well. So, we're doing what we hope we can do to help us fill those workforce issues. We also have it on the maintenance side too. Because that's just as important and there's projected to be hundreds of thousands of jobs in that space in the future.”

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