- Advocacy & Policy
- Research Center
May 09, 2007The federal government is not devoting the resources necessary to keep the technologically advanced Next Generation Air Transportation System on track, and it could cost the economy billions of dollars, AIA Civil Aviation Vice President Michael Romanowski said Wednesday. Government agencies must undertake development of the system, called NextGen, with a significantly higher level of urgency, Romanowski said during testimony before the House Aviation Subcommittee. Failing to ramp up efforts will result in the system not being able to keep up with spiking demand for air travel. "Given the length of time required to develop and implement NextGen, it's critical that we jump-start NextGen now," Romanowski said. An estimate from the Commission on the Future of the U.S. Aerospace Industry's 2002 final report put the cost of aviation delays to the entire economy at $30 billion. Wednesday's hearing was the second time in about a month that the House has tapped AIA experts to comment on NextGen development this year. AIA President and CEO John Douglass delivered a similar message to the House Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee in March. Romanowski testified during the subcommittee's hearing on the future of air traffic control modernization. NextGen is an advanced comprehensive system that encompasses air traffic control, safety, security, and every other aspect of air travel. The multi-agency Joint Planning and Development Office is charged with developing and implementing NextGen. The amount of funding for aeronautics research and development is woefully insufficient after years of budget cuts, Romanowski said. Congress added $166 million to aeronautics R&D this fiscal year, and that money should go toward NextGen transitional research to help close the existing research gap. Romanowski said other problems include a lack of urgency in planning; insufficient authority and accountability; issues with program alignment, implementation, and management; and too little engagement with industry.