Lawmakers Question NextGen Efforts
Although a “road map” for the next-generation ATC system will be released June 23, members of the House aviation subcommittee at a hearing yesterday expressed some concerns about their efforts to date. Rep. James Oberstar (D-Minn.), chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, is worried about oversight, particularly ownership of ADS-B, the “backbone” of the NextGen system. The winner among three companies vying for the ADS-B contract–ITT, Raytheon and Lockheed Martin–would own much of the infrastructure. “You are charting the future of ATC management,” Oberstar cautioned Robert Sturgell, FAA deputy administrator and interim Air Traffic Organization COO, and Charles Leader, director of the NextGen Joint Planning and Development Office (JPDO). Gerald Dillingham of the Government Accountability Office told lawmakers that the four-year-old JPDO is now functioning under its third director and has suffered from a lack of stable leadership. “We need to determine why there is turnover and what we can do to prevent it from continuing,” Dillingham said.