Recent Press Releases

Thune’s Autonomous Vehicle and TSA Aviation Security Bills Pass Commerce Committee

TSA Modernization Act, AV START Act clear key Senate hurdle with Commerce Committee passage

October 4, 2017


U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, today applauded the committee’s passage of his bipartisan TSA Modernization Act and the American Vision for Safer Transportation Through Advancement of Revolutionary Technologies (AV START) Act. They now head to the Senate floor for consideration.

S. 1885, the AV START Act, advances efforts to improve roadway safety through the deployment of self-driving vehicles. Highly Automated Vehicles (AVs) have the potential to significantly reduce traffic fatalities and bring mobility and efficiency benefits to America’s transportation system. U.S. Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) is the lead Democrat cosponsor for S. 1885.

“Today’s vote underscores the bipartisan desire to move ahead with self-driving vehicle technology,” said Thune. “Sen. Peters and the members of the Commerce Committee deserve credit for working together to move this bill forward toward Senate floor consideration and collaboration with our colleagues in the House of Representatives. The safety and economic benefits of self-driving vehicles are too critical to delay.”

S. 1872, the TSA Modernization Act, includes reforms of the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA’s) organizational structure, provisions to advance development and acquisition of new security technologies, improvements of public area security, and pathways to mitigate frustrating security delays. In addition, S. 1872 would authorize funding at TSA for three years, $7.81 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2018, $7.85 billion in FY 2019, and $7.89 billion in FY 2020, while reauthorizing TSA aviation security policies and programs. The total budget authority for TSA in FY 2017 was $7.77 billion.

“I’m glad the TSA Modernization Act passed a key Senate hurdle today,” said Thune. “This legislation creates more stability in the agency’s leadership and makes critical reforms to advance security measures for the flying public, while also minimizing delays. I look forward to working with my colleagues to advance this bill through the Senate, which would help keep travelers safe and give them additional peace of mind when they travel.”

The committee also approved bipartisan legislation to establish a national suicide prevention hotline and five nominees subject to Senate confirmation.