More FAA Projects Halted Nationwide as Partial Shutdown Continues
The Federal Aviation Administration on Tuesday announced additional “stop work orders” throughout the nation for the second day, as Congress failed to pass legislation on Friday giving the FAA the authority necessary for work to continue.
After Congress failed to pass an FAA bill, dozens of major projects ranging from long-term runway safety, initiatives to NextGen air traffic control, research, and testing for critical modernization projects around the country were ordered to stop.
“I am making a simple and straightforward request to Congress: pass a clean FAA bill and immediately put thousands of FAA employees, construction workers, planners and engineers across America to work,” stated U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “In these tough economic times, we can ill afford to lay off hard-working Americans whose families depend on them,” he added.
FAA Administrator Randy Babbit, meanwhile, described Congressional inaction as “serious” and with “real world implications” because citizens around the country are out of work and the FAA cannot conduct necessary work to keep aviation systems competitive and moving forward.
On Monday, the FAA made its first announcements regarding the immediate stop of aviation projects, which included a $370 million-contract with Jacobs Engineering of Pasadena, California and several other projects around the country worth well over $145 million, including construction projects to build and modernize control towers and other aviation infrastructures.
Other projects include research and testing in areas ranging from General Aviation and fire safety to navigation, weather and voice communication. In addition, almost 4,000 FAA employees in 35 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico were furloughed on Saturday.
In addition to the FAA’s aviation construction projects around the country, the lack of an FAA authorization has affected other airport projects through the Airport Improvement Program. The FAA is also unable to get roughly $2.5 billion out the door for airport projects in all 50 states that could put thousands of people to work in paying jobs.
The FAA underlined, however, that air safety for the public would not be compromised.