The Aerospace Industries Association is deeply concerned that actions by the House Appropriations Committee this week could result in cuts to NASA’s Space Launch System and FAA’s Next Generation Air Transportation System.
“The House Appropriations Committee’s proposed top-line numbers for fiscal year 2012 for areas of the budget that cover NASA and FAA are substantially reduced from last year,” said AIA President and CEO Marion C. Blakey. “If cuts are made to critical federal investment programs at these agencies, our leadership in space and safety in our airspace could be endangered.”
The Committee’s 14 percent proposed cut to Transportation, Housing and Urban Development is significantly lower than the president’s budget request. If applied to FAA, reduced funding would delay important benefits of NextGen such as improved system safety, reduced flight delays and fewer carbon emissions. FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt recently said such a cut “would degrade the safe and efficient movement of air traffic today and in the future.”
In addition, the six percent cut in Commerce, Justice and Science could result in dramatic reductions in NASA's ability to transition from the retiring Shuttle program, delaying our ability to independently send crews into space. This would result in additional payments to Russia to transport astronauts to and from the International Space Station.
Finally, despite a modest increase over 2011, the proposed allocation for defense is less than what Secretary Gates said is necessary to carry out our current missions. AIA remains concerned that large growth in personnel accounts will result in reductions in the investment accounts.
“The devil is in the details of the House-proposed allocations,” Blakey said. “The government needs strong industry partners to develop and deploy the technologies required for national security, leadership in space and safe and efficient air travel—not only today, but in the future.”