Reps. DeFazio, Stanton applaud House passage of drone infrastructure inspection legislation

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U.S. Reps. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Greg Stanton (D-AZ) applauded the House’s passage of legislation regulating infrastructure inspection using drones.

The bill, the Drone Infrastructure Inspection Grant Act, would invest $200 million in a drone infrastructure inspection grant program and a drone education and workforce training grant program within the U.S. Department of Transportation. Stanton, the bill’s author, said the legislation would support safer and more efficient inspection, maintenance, and repair of the country’s infrastructure and better equip the U.S. workforce to use drone technology.

“I applaud the House for passing the Drone Infrastructure Inspection Grant Act today, which will support the use of small drones to help state and local governments better inspect and repair critical infrastructure,” DeFazio, chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, said. “As we make historic investments in our transportation systems and infrastructure, the Drone Infrastructure Inspection Grant Act will help states, localities, and other stakeholders better inspect and maintain critical assets such as bridges and roads while training the workforce necessary to do so safely and effectively.”

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the recreational drone fleet will grow to nearly 1.5 million units by 2024, while the commercial fleet will increase to more than 800,000 units that year. At the same time, drones are being used more by state and local governments to enhance traditional inspection methods of critical infrastructure like bridges, roads, and dams.

“There’s a nationwide backlog for critical infrastructure inspections—and it’s because traditional methods are often time-consuming and expensive and can even be dangerous. Using a drone to inspect infrastructure in hard-to-reach places—such as underneath bridges—can speed up the inspection process, is safer for workers, and can help save states and local transit agencies money,” Stanton said.