TribLIVE

| USWorld


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

Congress blamed in air-traffic control system delays

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.

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Nation

  1. Feds to protect 20 coral species
  2. Johns’ ex-aide admits thefts
  3. Hot-sauce company offers tours to irritated neighbors
  4. Senate to look at earthquake risks at California nuke plant
  5. Louisiana Gov. Jindal sues Obama over Common Core
  6. Texas man cleared of shooting drunken driver who killed his 2 sons
  7. Ferguson regains its peace, normalcy
  8. Pilot missing in Va. fighter crash
  9. New rules for highly addictive, hydrocodone-containing medications near
  10. Pair of ‘barbaric murders’ in Philly believed to have been carried out by gang
  11. Study links availability of medical marijuana with lower deadly overdose rate
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.