FAA's Blakey: "Change Is Never Easy"

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FAA Administrator Marion Blakey has been spending a lot of time on Capitol Hill the last few weeks, trying to build support for her new aviation user-fee funding plan. And she's getting a little tired of all the criticism it's been getting. "In recent weeks, the rhetoric about our finance reform bill has become very, shall I say, animated and aggressive?" she told a meeting of airport executives on Tuesday. "It's mighty frustrating ... If the FAA really wanted to kill GA, as our critics claim, we'd just sit back and do nothing. We'd leave the air traffic system just the way it is, and let congestion slowly squeeze them out." Blakey asked the executives to support the FAA's efforts, and said some of the agency's proposed changes would be beneficial to airports. "No matter how you slice it, our bill allows airports to meet their capital needs," she said. "If Congress fails to act on our bill by September, airports will immediately feel the pinch. That new runway you're hoping for may start late in the construction season or be lost for the entire year."