DOT IG, FAA Spar Over Metroplex Documentation

 - September 23, 2019, 5:04 PM

Following its audit of the FAA’s metroplex redesign program, the DOT Inspector General found that although the FAA has completed seven of 12 locations, it does not expect to complete all remaining locations until 2021, four years later than originally planned. Delays have occurred largely due to increased community concerns about aircraft noise and other issues, including the alleged failure of the FAA to properly document its work.

While the FAA concurred with several of the audit’s recommendations, including providing time lines for their completion, the agency did not concur with the DOT IG’s claim that the program lacks proper documentation. The DOT IG said the FAA’s methods for estimating benefits “overly rely on judgment and are not well documented, limiting transparency and hindering the agency from reproducing its process for estimating benefits in the future.”

The FAA contends the DOT IG finding “incorrectly reports that the FAA’s documentation of its metroplex benefits estimation consisted largely of presentation slides with little text and brief summary reports. Detailed reports, including a methodology section, are completed for each Metroplex post-implementation analysis which we have recently provided to [the Office of Inspector General] for review.”

A metroplex is a geographic area covering several airports, serving major metropolitan areas. The FAA is redesigning them to advance performance-based navigation. The seven completed redesigns referred to by the DOT are Houston; North Texas; Northern California; Washington, D.C.; Atlanta; Charlotte; and Southern California. Metroplex redesigns remain underway for Cleveland, Denver, South Central Florida, Las Vegas, and Phoenix.