Statement by Aerospace Industries Association President and CEO Marion C. Blakey on the release of the President’s fiscal year 2015 Budget Request for the Department of Transportation/Federal Aviation Administration.
Arlington, Va. — A number of important FAA programs face challenges under the President’s fiscal year 2015 budget request. In particular, the Next Generation Air Transportation System modernization program is entering several critical years of development and deployment of new technologies and today’s budget release highlights several notable areas of concern. A $65 million cut to the NextGen program’s funding from the current fiscal year poses new obstacles to meeting program milestones in the next several years, leading up to the 2018 mid-term objectives outlined by FAA leadership.
While AIA and our member companies recognize the austere budget environment requires continued efforts across government to trim spending, our industry remains concerned at the trend toward year over year reductions to the FAA’s modernization budget. The economic benefits of the NextGen program far outweigh the nominal budget gains that would be realized if the proposed cuts are enacted. Safety, the environment, America’s future competitiveness and numerous other benefits afforded by NextGen remain at risk if the program continues to be funded at shrinking levels.
Our industry urges a renewed commitment to NextGen as Congress takes up the President’s budget request. The fiscal year2015 NextGen request represents a cut of almost 20 percent from the amount proposed just two years ago. FAA’s budget also includes $370 million for the “NAS Sustainment Strategy,” a new effort to increase funding for the maintenance of FAA's buildings, facilities and other equipment. We believe this underscores the need for quick and comprehensive decisions on the realignment and consolidation of FAA facilities and equipment, as mandated by Congress in the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012.
The extremely tight budget also poses significant challenges for manufacturers responding to a growing aviation marketplace. For example, while the requirements for FAA certification increase to accommodate global aviation growth and the integration of unmanned systems into our national airspace, the agency's budget represents no growth compared to the current year. This underscores the criticality of FAA implementing certification streamlining reforms endorsed by Congress in 2012, as well as the expansion of Organization Delegation Authority wherever feasible and safe.
AIA looks forward to working with Congress, the FAA, and other aviation stakeholders during this year's appropriations process to ensure that the agency has the right amount and balance of resources to meet today’s needs and invest for the future growth that we know is coming.