As an air traffic controller, constituent and member of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association in North Dakota, I’d like to thank Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., for his vote in support of the bipartisan infrastructure bill that recently passed in the U.S. Senate.

Sen. Hoeven understands the importance of investing in physical infrastructure in North Dakota and throughout the United States. Our National Airspace System is a critical component of our infrastructure: It moves people and cargo safer and more efficiently than any other airspace in the world.

To ensure that America’s NAS remains the gold standard, the infrastructure bill contains funding to repair or replace air traffic control facilities and equipment across the country. For years, there has been an urgent need to make these improvements. Some air traffic control facilities have long exceeded their lifespan while many others suffer from major physical infrastructure issues, including towers in our state.

Additionally, infrastructure investments are vital to the safe integration of new technologies, including Unmanned Aerial Systems. The UND School of Aerospace Sciences is a national leader in UAS education and research. The New York Times has called the Grand Forks area "the Silicon Valley of unmanned aircraft systems." The bipartisan infrastructure bill will help support infrastructure and technology necessary for maintaining North Dakota’s standing in aviation.

Improvements to our aging facilities will result in more jobs for the American people and deliver benefits to our economy and the flying public alike.

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Garrett Petersen, Grand Forks