Say Agency Should Cut Consultants And Travel Before Furloughing ATC Personnel
House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA), Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation Ranking Member John Thune (R-SD), and House Subcommittee on Aviation Chairman Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ) released a statement Friday in response to the Administration’s announcement regarding sequestration’s potential impact on the FAA and U.S. aviation.
“We are disappointed by the Administration creating alarm about sequestration’s impact on aviation," the statement says. "Before jumping to the conclusion that furloughs must be implemented, the Administration and the agency need to sharpen their pencils and consider all the options. Prematurely outlining the potential impacts before identifying other savings is not helpful.
“Congress has been requesting information from the FAA since August, but nothing was provided, and today’s exaggerations are not backed up by any real financial data. The agency is well positioned to absorb spending reductions without compromising the safety or efficiency of the National Airspace System.”
Thune, Shuster, and LoBiondo said that while the United States continues to see a contracted airline industry, the FAA has received significant funding increases in recent years. While domestic flights are down 27% from pre-9/11 levels, over the last ten years the FAA’s annual budget has increased almost $3 billion, or 41%, in its Operations account. Each year, the agency spends approximately $500 million on consultants and $200 million on supplies and travel, which is more than the $600 million Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said would be realized by reducing air traffic services and furloughing personnel.
(Pictured L-R: Senator Thune, Congressman Shuster)