...GAO Says Agency Facing $4 Billion Deficit...

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As if on cue, the Government Accountability Office released its own study of FAA finances and it's predicting a train wreck. According to the GAO, the agency will have a $4 billion deficit by 2010 if something isn't done. The GAO does not look at changing the revenue structure, as Blakey has been doing, and simply warns the FAA to cut costs, particularly in its Air Traffic Organization, which sucks up 80 percent of the budget. The paradox presented, however, is that somehow the FAA must find the money to invest billions in more efficient equipment while keeping the existing antiquated (and increasingly expensive) infrastructure operating as traffic volumes grow. The GAO also mentions consolidation of facilities as an option, something that always faces political opposition as individual senators and representatives fight to keep towers open and those high-paying jobs in their districts.