Regional centers of air transportation excellence
The Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration may make grants to institutions of higher education to establish and operate regional centers of air transportation excellence. The locations shall be distributed in a geographically fair way.
(1) The responsibilities of each center established under this section shall include—
(A) conducting research on—
airspace and airport planning and design;
airport capacity enhancement techniques;
human performance in the air transportation environment;
aviation safety and security;
the supply of trained air transportation personnel, including pilots and mechanics; and
other aviation issues related to developing and maintaining a safe and efficient air transportation system; and
interpreting, publishing, and disseminating the results of the research.
In conducting research described in paragraph (1)(A) of this subsection, each center may make contracts with nonprofit research organizations and other appropriate persons.
An institution of higher education interested in receiving a grant under this section may submit an application to the Administrator. The application must be in the form and contain the information that the Administrator requires by regulation.
(d)Selection Criteria.—The Administrator shall select recipients of grants under this section on the basis of the following criteria:
the extent to which the needs of the State in which the applicant is located are representative of the needs of the region for improved air transportation services and facilities.
the demonstrated research and extension resources available to the applicant to carry out this section.
the ability of the applicant to provide leadership in making national and regional contributions to the solution of both long-range and immediate air transportation problems.
the extent to which the applicant has an established air transportation program.
the demonstrated ability of the applicant to disseminate results of air transportation research and educational programs through a statewide or regionwide continuing education program.
the projects the applicant proposes to carry out under the grant.
A grant may be made under this section in a fiscal year only if the recipient makes an agreement with the Administrator that the Administrator requires to ensure that the recipient will maintain its total expenditures from all other sources for establishing and operating the center and related research activities at a level at least equal to the average level of those expenditures in the 2 fiscal years of the recipient occurring immediately before November 5, 1990.
(f)Government’s Share of Costs.—
The United States Government’s share of establishing and operating a center and all related research activities that grant recipients carry out shall not exceed 50 percent of the costs, except that the Administrator may increase such share to a maximum of 75 percent of the costs for a fiscal year if the Administrator determines that a center would be unable to carry out the authorized activities described in this section without additional funds.
The Administrator shall allocate amounts made available to carry out this section in a geographically fair way.
(h)Annual Report.—The Administrator shall transmit annually to the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate at the time of the President’s budget request a report that lists—
the research projects that have been initiated by each center in the preceding year;
the amount of funding for each research project and the funding source;
the institutions participating in each research project and their shares of the overall funding for each research project; and
the level of cost-sharing for each research project.