Re-elect Dan Lipinski Congressman

Lipinski Proposes Adding Incentives to FAA Reauthorization to Get NextGen off the Ground and Improve Air Travel

Today, Congressman Dan Lipinski (IL-03) issued a proposal to speed the deployment of the Next Generation Air Transportation project, which uses satellite and other advanced technology to expand capacity, enhance safety, and reduce costly delays, pollution, and noise throughout the nation’s aviation system.

Congressman Lipinski’s proposal would provide grants and loan guarantees to enable airlines and other aviation participants to begin installing NextGen technology. It would also establish a multi-stakeholder NextGen oversight board and create incentives for FAA employees overseeing the program to meet specific, agreed-upon metrics for implementing NextGen.

“We can’t handle the air traffic of tomorrow with technology that dates back a half-century,” Congressman Lipinski said. “For the sake of the flying public and the economy, we need to modernize our system, and we need to get started right away. But we must recognize that deploying NextGen cannot be accomplished by any single participant in our aviation system – it requires cooperation and investment by numerous stakeholders. The goal of my proposal is to encourage the investments necessary to move NextGen forward. If we’re going to get America’s economy moving and keep it growing, we need to ensure people and goods can get where they need to be safely and without disruptive delays. ”

NextGen will transform the ground-based air traffic control radar system of today to the satellite-based system needed to accommodate future air traffic growth. It will vastly increase pilots’ access to essential weather and flight traffic information and help aircraft to fly shorter routes and reduce descent times. The number of passengers on U.S. airlines is expected to increase from 704 million in 2009 to 1 billion by 2023, and delays already cost an estimated $9.4 billion annually.

Congressman Lipinski’s proposal incorporates input from a variety of aviation stakeholders, including the commercial, general, and business aviation communities, as well as avionics manufacturers and others. It would provide matching grants to install ADS-B Out systems, which provide air traffic controllers and pilots with highly accurate, real-time information to keep aircraft safely separated in the sky and on runways. Loan guarantees of up to 80 percent would be made available to facilitate adoption of other NextGen technologies, with a three-year deferment period designed to encourage investing now, as the FAA continues working to implement requisite associated systems.

The proposal also would establish a Modernization Metrics Oversight Board to develop metrics for measuring the implementation of NextGen and resulting improvements in areas such as safety and on-time performance. These metrics would be used to establish pay incentives for FAA employees to reward the timely deployment of NextGen.

Manufacturing and installing on-board NextGen avionics would create an estimated nearly 30,000 American jobs.

“Incorporating these proposals into the FAA reauthorization would greatly speed the deployment of NextGen, resulting in tangible improvements for air travelers,” Congressman Lipinski said. “I look forward to continuing to work to move the reauthorization bill forward and help NextGen take flight.”

(February 10, 2011)

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