Should NextGen Be the New Transportation Priority?

 - March 19, 2009, 12:04 PM

Air Transport Association president and CEO James May suggested yesterday that if the Next Generation Air Transportation System is fast-tracked like the Interstate Highway System was a half century ago, many of the promised benefits could be operational within five years. “It’s time for this nation to declare an infrastructure priority much like the Eisenhower Administration did with the Interstate Highway System in the 1950s,” he told the House aviation subcommittee. “If we did this in the 1950s for the highways, why can’t we do it now for aviation?” May ticked off a list of NextGen building blocks already proven and ready to deploy, including ADS-B, RNAV, RNP, electronic display upgrades (such as EFB), ground-based augmentation systems and “for my friends in the GA community” localizer performance with vertical guidance (LPV). Aerospace Industries Association president and CEO Marion Blakey said equipage is “the long pole in the tent,” which prompted subcommittee chairman Jerry Costello (D-Ill.) to offer that funds for avionics could be inserted in a second stimulus bill.