The FAA Pushes The Future Back...

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As FAA Limits New Technology....

The FAA's efforts to modernize the National Airspace System, including the installation of new radar and approach systems, datalink technology, and digital radios, "face fundamental problems with respect to misjudging technological maturity, unexpected cost growth, or concerns about how to move forward in a cost-effective way," Department of Transportation Inspector General Ken Mead told a Senate panel last Thursday. Mead, testifying before the Senate Appropriations Committee about the FAA's budget request for fiscal year 2005, said plans for several programs will be put on hold, or face reduced budgets and delayed implementation schedules. Mead also said the FAA is considering using $30 million of Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funds to pay for air traffic control services in 2005, which would represent a shift from prior practice. AIP funds have previously been used for airport construction projects such as new runways and navaids, but not for ATC infrastructure.