Aviation Projects Come To Halt Due To GOP Inaction
By Steve Hall
July 28, 2011 - The Federal Aviation Administration
issued additional “stop work orders” to construction and
technology contractors for critical modernization
projects around the country after the Republican House
failed to pass an FAA bill. The FAA halted dozens of
major projects ranging from long-term runway safety
initiatives to NextGen air traffic control research and
Tuesday, the FAA told contractors to stop work on
millions of additional dollars of construction projects
to build and modernize control towers and other aviation
infrastructure across the country.
am making a simple and straightforward request to
Congress: pass a clean FAA bill and immediately put
thousands of FAA employees, construction workers,
planners and engineers across America to work. In these
tough economic times, we can ill afford to lay off
hard-working Americans whose families depend on them,"
said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood .
world implications of Congressional inaction are serious.
People are out of work and the FAA cannot conduct
necessary work to keep our aviation system competitive and
moving forward,” said FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt.
The FAA is
halting hundreds of millions of dollars in construction projects
and research and testing in areas ranging from General Aviation
and fire safety to navigation, weather and voice communication.
Because Congress has failed to pass an FAA bill, construction
workers, technicians, engineers, program managers and planners
across the country have been told not to report to worksites and
4,000 FAA personnel, many needed to oversee various aspects of
these projects, were furloughed on Saturday.
Stopping work on these projects will significantly
increase the ultimate costs of construction for taxpayers and
could delay the programs.
these projects include:
Runway Status Lights: Over $250 million in contracts to design and install runway status lights at airports around the country. These runway and taxiway lights help pilots know when it is safe to enter, cross or take off on a runway.
The lights are
slated for installation at the following airports: Seattle-Tacoma
International Airport; Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport;
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport; New York LaGuardia Airport;
Los Angeles International Airport; Newark Liberty International Airport;
Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport; Chicago O’Hare
International Airport; Charlotte Douglas International Airport;
Washington-Dulles International Airport; Minneapolis-St. Paul
International Airport; and Las Vegas McCarran International Airport.
Air traffic tower
earthquake protection: Nearly $20 million in construction and
engineering contracts to strengthen air traffic towers in earthquake
The FAA is currently working to deploy a new automation system at certain air traffic facilities which will serve as a foundation for NextGen, the modernization of our air traffic system. Currently, the En Route Automation Modernization or ERAM system is operational in Seattle and Salt Lake City where air traffic controllers are using it to handle live traffic. The FAA is putting on hold an aggressive testing and deployment schedule for 18 more facilities due to the lack of funding and employee furloughs.
Nearly 4,000 FAA employees in 35 states, and the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, have been furloughed and forced to go without pay. Large numbers of employees in New Jersey, New York, California, Georgia, Oklahoma, Texas, Washington, Illinois and the District of Columbia are being affected. This includes many of the FAA’s engineers, scientists, research analysts, administrative assistants, computer specialists, program managers and analysts, environmental protection specialists, and community planners.
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