Spano Cosponsors Bill to Protect Transportation Infrastructure from Chinese Espionage and Intellectual Property Theft

Critical Florida Transportation Hubs Covered

Lakeland, May 18, 2020

Lakeland, FL On Friday, U.S. Representative Ross Spano (FL-15) cosponsored H.R. 6917, the ‘Airport Infrastructure Resources (AIR) Security Act’, a bill introduced by Congressmen Ron Wright (TX-06) and Marc Veasey (TX-33). As we continue to integrate technology into our infrastructure, we must be resilient against attempts by our adversaries, namely China, and their state-sponsored enterprises to infiltrate critical systems and carry out espionage and intellectual property (IP) theft. This legislation prohibits federal airport improvement funds from being used to purchase passenger boarding bridges from companies that have violated the IP rights and threaten the national security of the United States.

Not a dime of U.S. taxpayer dollars should be given to Chinese owned firms or Chinese subsidized companies bidding on our critical aviation infrastructure projects,” said Rep. Ross Spano. “China and its communist government have proven time and time again that they are only out for themselves and have no reservations in stealing our intellectual property and carrying out cyber espionage against our country. I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing this bill to secure our aviation security.”   

From day one of this pandemic, Communist China has been reckless and negligent in their COVID-19 response. They failed to communicate the disease's seriousness to the rest of the global community, leading to the death of thousands of Americans, not to mention their own people. Make no mistake, the CCP will stop at nothing to gain power and control. We cannot afford to give them inroads to our most critical systems," said Rep. Ron Wright. "I am proud to introduce this legislation with my colleague Rep. Veasey to ensure taxpayer dollars do not go to Chinese-owned or subsidized passenger boarding bridge companies that are hoping to steal from and spy on the American people."

Over the last few years, CIMC-Tianda, a Chinese-owned company with a history of industrial and cyber espionage against the United States, has repeatedly tried to partner with major U.S. transportation hubs, including Houston, Dallas, Miami, and Boston, to sell its airplane passenger boarding bridges.

“The national security threat China and other adversaries pose to our transportation industry cannot be underestimated,” Sen. John Cornyn said. “I’m grateful to Congressmen Wright and Veasey for introducing this legislation to ensure government grants aren’t used to subsidize the purchase of airport infrastructure from hostile governments.”

“Aviation infrastructure is critical to national security – and for that reason, China’s Communist Party proxy companies are targeting our commercial airports. For intellectual property protection and safety, we should prevent the Federal Aviation Administration from entering into contracts with companies with direct affiliation with our adversaries,” said Rep. Michael Waltz.

“Now, more than ever, we can see why our nation should not rely on foreign entities for our resources and goods-- especially those who pose a threat to our national security,” said Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart.This legislation would ban the use of federal funds to purchase state-owned or subsidized passenger boarding bridges, effectively pushing China out of the market. This will bring more jobs and manufacturing to the United States and ensure American companies intellectual property rights are protected and American individuals’ privacy is secured. I’m proud to be an original co-sponsor of this bill, and I thank Congressmen Wright and Veasey for their efforts to ensure the American people are safe from foreign interference.”

“The Chinese Communist Party intends to shape the future by heavily investing in the critical infrastructure which keeps our world running. They may offer many goods and services at lower prices, but we’re choosing not to buy what they’re selling. We cannot continue to fuel the ambitions of the untrustworthy and unreliable CCP regime,” said Rep. Lance Gooden.

Original Cosponsors of the Airport Infrastructure Resources (AIR) Security Act include:

Ross Spano (FL-15)
Reps. Marc Veasey (TX-33)
Michael Waltz (FL-6)
Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25)
Lance Gooden (TX-5)

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