Senator Critiques FAA's Performance
If your projects aren't meeting their targets, here's one solution -- move the target so it's closer to where you are. That's what the FAA has been doing, according to Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., who sits on the Senate appropriations subcommittee on transportation. At a hearing last week, the senator said FAA Administrator Marion Blakey's frequent claim that 97 percent of the agency's capital projects are on time and on budget is true only because some projects have been "re-baselined." That is, when projects run over budget or behind schedule, those targets are recalculated. "Things are not all 'on track' at the FAA," Murray said. She said she questions "whether the agency is being honest with the system users, Congress and taxpayers when it establishes a new higher cost estimate, a later delivery date or a weaker performance goal, and then continues to proclaim proudly that the program is 'on-time' and 'on budget.'" Among the projects that are lagging, according to Murray, are improved weather systems, radar upgrades and systems to prevent runway incursions. FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown told the FederalTimes.com that out of 37 large programs tracked by the agency, only seven have been re-baselined. "Our programs continue to meet their targets," Brown said.