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Controllers Applaud Administration Decision to Rescind Proposed FAA Budget Cuts - (2/13/2001)

WASHINGTON - Federal budget officials have decided to rescind proposed deep cuts in the Federal Aviation Administration budget, ensuring that the landmark AIR-21 legislation of a year ago, which increases funding for airport improvements and air traffic control modernization, will proceed. The decision, confirmed by NATCA sources, was met with enthusiasm from NATCA President John S. Carr.

“This is great news for all of us who work in aviation, airports and air traffic control,” Carr said. “It’s a very positive step toward ensuring the continued improvement of the air traffic control system and affirms that the administration is making it a high priority to improve important aspects of air travel.

“Air traffic controllers pride themselves on helping to maintain the safest system in the world and we welcome all efforts to modernize our equipment in order to better provide these services. We commend the administration’s decision to fund these essential government services under AIR-21; however, we likewise hope it will take a close look at fully funding all parts of the FAA budget.”

AIR-21 is a three-year bill which set out to increase aviation investment by $10 billion over current levels, with the bulk of the funding going to radar modernization and much-needed airport construction projects. The $40 billion in authorized funding for federal aviation programs over the three-year period is comprised of $33 billion from the Aviation Trust Fund and $6.7 billion appropriated from the General Fund. Carr said the importance of AIR-21 is it ensures a steady stream of funding for the FAA over the long term.

As the issue of flight delays and system congestion continues to make daily headlines, the need for fully funded FAA services becomes essential. This week’s budget developments go a long way toward helping improve the system as it prepares to serve another busy spring/summer travel season and the certainty of future growth.


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