The Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky airport (CVG) is a vital driver of economic growth for our region and for the nation. But nonsensical government rules threaten that growth. An amendment I offered to fix a bureaucratic absurdity imposed upon CVG will soon become law and promises to boost our local economy, create jobs and enhance our Commonwealth’s role in global trade.

Last week, the U.S. Senate passed the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act, which includes my amendment requiring the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to add CVG to its list of Designated Ports. This marks a critical milestone in our ongoing efforts to streamline commerce and foster wealth creation in Kentucky.

Despite being one of America’s busiest cargo airports, CVG had not been placed on USFWS’s list of Designated Ports. USFWS is tasked with regulating wildlife and wildlife products that are imported into the United States. By failing to designate the sixth busiest cargo airport in the country as a USFWS Designated Port, the federal government effectively required wildlife products, such as leather wallets and wool sweaters, imported to CVG to be transported unnecessarily over extensive distances to other locations for inspection.

An example may illuminate the folly of the current situation. If you buy an imported leather wallet that is sent to CVG, it would not be inspected there and then sent to you. That wallet would likely be sent to 100 miles away to Louisville airport to be inspected by the USFWS. Once the wallet clears inspection, it would then be sent an additional 100 miles in the opposite direction back to CVG. Then, and only then, would the wallet make its way to you. This government rule not only added to the cost and complexity of operations but also strained our infrastructure and environment.

By adding CVG to USFWS’s list of Designated Ports, my amendment removes the ridiculous requirement that wildlife goods trek an unnecessary 200 miles for inspection and will reduce wear and tear on the roads, alleviate traffic congestion, as well diminish the potential for delivery delays and errors. 

In short, my amendment begins the process by which CVG can handle these inspections directly. This move will cut costs and speed up operations at one of America’s busiest cargo hubs.

This remedy is not just about reducing bureaucracy – it’s about boosting Kentucky’s economy. The inclusion of CVG as a Designated Port is not merely a logistical enhancement; it is a strategic economic growth plan. This change will pave the way for new job opportunities across various sectors by encouraging more businesses to choose Kentucky as a logistical hub. This is a forward-looking strategy, ensuring that Kentucky remains competitive and relevant in the rapidly evolving landscape of global commerce.

It’s estimated that the simplification of these processes at CVG will lead to a reduction in operational costs, thereby lowering the barriers for businesses dealing in wildlife products and enhancing the overall efficiency of cargo operations at one of America’s busiest airports.

Moreover, my amendment introduces an innovative approach to funding these improvements. By allowing the USFWS to accept private donations, we are opening doors for stakeholders in various industries to directly contribute to and benefit from the enhancements at CVG. This provision ensures that improvements can be made without the need for additional federal appropriations, thus demonstrating a fiscally responsible approach to government policymaking.

As your senator, I am committed to fostering an environment where Kentucky businesses can thrive free from the heavy hand of excessive regulation. This amendment is a testament to what can be achieved when the government acknowledges its role not as the gatekeeper of commerce but as a facilitator of economic opportunity. By reducing the red tape that binds the engines of our economy, we are setting the stage for a more prosperous future for Kentucky and the nation.