Bipartisan Legislation Introduced to Increase Use of Drones to Inspect and Maintain Infrastructure Projects

U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR), Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) have introduced the Drone Infrastructure Inspection Grant Act, which would authorize $100 million in competitive grants to use American-made drones to perform critical infrastructure inspection, maintenance or construction projects. This bipartisan bill would also authorize $100 million in grants for workforce training and education to prepare the next generation of workers in this field.

“Using advanced technology for infrastructure safety inspections will improve and strengthen our bridges and railways,” said Boozman. “In Arkansas, we’ve invested in modernizing our capabilities, including utilizing drones and other emerging technologies. The DIIG Act continues to build on this momentum while also helping develop the workforce to operate these cutting-edge tools.”

“As we make historic investments in fixing and updating our nation’s infrastructure, we can rely on the latest technology to identify physical vulnerabilities that need to be fixed,” said Rosen. “This bipartisan legislation will help local governments invest in drones and skilled workers to ensure America’s existing infrastructure remains safe.” 

“This bill promotes the use of domestic drone technology to inspect and maintain our nation’s vital infrastructure,” said Blumenthal. “Through important grant programs, our workforce will be given the tools and skilled training necessary to keep our bridges, dams, and highways across the country safe. I’m proud to join this legislation as we build on the groundbreaking investments in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.” 

Drones have been used to help inspect infrastructure projects and prevent catastrophes. Last year, drone footage helped reveal a severe crack in the I-40 bridge connecting Arkansas and Tennessee, leading to the bridge being shut down. This legislation would also enable research universities to access grants for programs geared toward training the next generation of workers who operate drones.

H.R. 5315 also calls for an equal amount of funding to be granted for drone education and workforce development.