U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, in a speech Monday, said transitioning to the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) is a “major component” of the Obama administration’s transportation vision, and he promised additional resources for NextGen in the next federal transportation bill.
Addressing the Air Traffic Control Association (ATCA) conference in National Harbor, Md., LaHood recalled the multi-modal transportation spending plan unveiled by President Obama on Labor Day in Milwaukee. The President proposes, and Congress would have to approve, a $50 billion “up-front” investment on transportation infrastructure, connected to a six-year reauthorization of the surface transportation program.
“Even in Milwaukee, much to the surprise of many people, the President talked about NextGen. NextGen will be a major component of whatever we do in terms of a big plan, a big vision for transportation,” LaHood said.
He continued: “I’ve discussed with President Obama, NextGen. He talked about it during the campaign, and he continues to talk about it. He realizes, as we do, that next generation technology will make air travel safer, it will make our skies less congested, it will cut travel times and alleviate delays. It will make the industry’s carbon footprint smaller; it will make the civil aviation sector, responsible for 11 million jobs and $1 trillion of economic activity more efficient and competitive.
“The bottom line is that America’s next transportation bill will include new resources to move from a national ground-based radar surveillance system to a more accurate satellite-based surveillance system (with) new resources for technology in the cockpit and a broader effort to increase fuel efficiency and cut airport noise for people who live and work near airports.”