| USWorld

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Congress blamed in air-traffic control system delays

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Daily Photo Galleries

By Bloomberg News
Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012, 6:58 p.m.

WASHINGTON — Benefits from the planned $42 billion investment in a new air-traffic control system depend on being able to combine and move hundreds of radar rooms that are obsolete or can't accommodate new equipment.

That modernization effort is at risk because lawmakers have blocked several attempts to merge such Federal Aviation Administration facilities, according to agency data compiled by Bloomberg and interviews with former FAA officials.

“You tell a congressman that you're pulling a center out of his or her district, you're going to have a gigantic scream,” said George Donohue, a former FAA associate administrator. “When you talk about consolidating big, expensive, redundant facilities, Congress just won't let it get done.”

The program known as NextGen involves using global-positioning satellite technology to replace radar to track aircraft and giving controllers better communication tools including an email-like link to pilots. The FAA projects NextGen will save airlines $24 billion in fuel, delays and other expenses by 2020 by letting planes fly more direct routes and closer to each other.

The agency has received congressional criticism for delays and cost overruns on some early parts of NextGen, including a new computer system to monitor traffic and serve as a backbone for much of the new technology. The bricks-and-mortar network of more than 500 radar rooms and towers form the low- tech side of the system.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.



Show commenting policy

Most-Read Nation

  1. House OKs end of oil export ban adopted in 1970s in response to Arab embargo
  2. Inmates help dying prisoners in Ohio hospice
  3. Officials: 1 dead, 3 wounded in Northern Arizona University shooting
  4. Officials: Broken rail caused February W.V. train derailment
  5. Dozens of terror plots disrupted in America, FBI claims
  6. 2 men arrested in 1984 rape, killing of girl, 14
  7. McCarthy drops out as GOP speaker candidate in shocker
  8. Oregon college town sets gun rights protest for Obama visit
  9. South Carolina capital’s drinking water at risk
  10. California heat wave brings storms
  11. W.Va. native killed as C-130 transport plane crashes in Afghanistan