LaHood Confirmed As DOT Secretary

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Former Rep. Ray Lahood, R-Ill., was confirmed Thursday by the Senate as Department of Transportation Secretary for the Obama administration. LaHood may soon oversee a wealth of public money expected to fall under his hand in support of the new president's not-yet-finalized stimulus plan, which makes LaHood the target of numerous aviation advocacy groups. The 63-year-old LaHood called his appointment to the position "the capstone" of his public service career ... though there's no indication he was making reference to implementation of ADS-B in the lower 48. The Air Transportation Association of America, which supports the use of user fees, called LaHood an "even-handed, thoughtful" deliberator. LaHood's past experience may predispose him to a position against user fees. He has served as a member of the House Appropriations Committee, which "has adamantly opposed user fees," according to AOPA. AOPA is among many aviation groups that have together written the president to make the case for a part of the economic stimulus plan to be applied directly toward modernization of the country's national airspace system -- specifically, air traffic control and the implementation of ADS-B.

The Air Transport Association, the National Business Aviation Association, the National Air Transport Association, and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, along with AOPA and several other groups, are working together to lobby the Obama administration for a stimulus aid package. The groups specifically identified a plan through which $4 billion could be used to advance the development of NextGen technologies ahead of predicted schedules. See more, here.