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February 07, 2008Federal Aviation Administration funding in the administration's budget request includes significant increases in facilities and equipment, NextGen systems and research investment -- positive steps for the expanding needs of our air travel system, AIA President and CEO Marion Blakey said. The request for fiscal 2009 includes a three-fold increase funding for development and implementation of the Next Generation Air Transportation System, known as NextGen. Implementation of this advanced, satellite-based system is vital to meeting the demand for passenger capacity that is expected to increase by 31 percent by 2015, making the higher funding levels extremely important, Blakey said. FAA's overall request is for $14.6 billion. Part of that figure is $688 million for NextGen, a needed increase from the $212 million in fiscal 2008. The proposal also includes an 8.4 percent increase over the enacted fiscal 2008 budget for facilities and equipment, reaching a total of $2.72 billion. The research, engineering and development budget would increase 16.3 percent over the current fiscal year's request to reach $171 billion. "The budget request is on the right track in several important areas," Blakey said. "This will allow further progress toward NextGen implementation, and I would encourage Congress to support this proposal." NextGen is at the stage of development where planning is moving into application to advanced technologies, which explains the marked increase in funding in the administration request.