Blakey Defends FAA Budget Before Congress
FAA Administrator Marion Blakey testified before the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation last week, to justify her FAA fiscal year 2007 budget. Blakey reiterated her request for a change in FAA funding practices, saying the agency needs "a stable and predictable funding system that provides appropriate incentives to users and to the FAA to operate more efficiently." The future presents many challenges, she said, requiring an upgraded airspace system that can handle the giant Airbus A380, fleets of microjets and everything in between. Blakey asked overall for a lower budget than last year, but would add $8 million for 101 new aviation safety inspectors and 32 new staffers for the Air Traffic Safety Oversight office. She told the Senate panel that the FAA has not yet decided on an official position regarding user fees, according to Helicopter Association International.