Texas Cities Support UAS Application to FAA
(AUSTIN) – The Texas Municipal League (TML) today endorsed the State of Texas’ application to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to become one of six unmanned aircraft systems research and test sites. The Lone Star Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Center for Excellence and Innovation, headquartered at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, includes a number of partners, including the Texas Engineering Experiment Station, Texas Tech University, the University of Texas-Arlington, the University of Texas-El Paso, the University of Texas-San Antonio, Southwest Research Institute (San Antonio) and Baytech (Houston).
Through the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, Congress directed the FAA to establish this program to conduct critical research into how best to safely integrate UAS systems into the national airspace over the next several years and what certification and navigation requirements will need to be established. These issues include security of GPS systems, laws and policies regulating the potential for high UAS traffic, and how the military and civilian will share airspace. The FAA is expected to announce its decision on site selection by the end of the year.
Corpus Christi Mayor Nelda Martinez, who is TML President-elect, said the TML endorsement should make federal officials take notice of the Lone Star UAS Center for Excellence and Innovation. “The strong show of support from Texas cities should be a tremendous boost to the State’s application,” Mayor Martinez said. “Texas has unmatched airspace, a strong business climate, cutting-edge research partnerships, and broad public support from state and local governments, higher education institutions, and the private sector.”
Dr. Luis Cifuentes, Vice President for Research, Commercialization and Outreach at TAMUCC said Texas cities recognize the tremendous economic opportunity an FAA test site would bring to the State of Texas. Dr. Cifuentes stated, “The center will generate statewide economic growth, industrial development and employment for Texans by building research and development infrastructure required by the FAA and UAS stakeholders to ensure safe integration of UAS into the national airspace.”
The Texas Municipal League, formed in 1913, serves the needs and advocates the interests of 1,135 cities and over 16,000 mayors, council members, city managers, city attorneys, and city department heads who are member officials. The League has over 400 associate members from private sector companies, organizations, and individuals striving to provide quality services and products to municipal governments in Texas.