Obama Infrastructure Plan: More NextGen Funding, Runway Improvements

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

In a Labor Day speech, President Obama announced that NextGen and runway rehabilitation would receive a much needed boost under a $50 billion infrastructure improvement plan.

Under Mr. Obama’s plan, which calls for a $50 billion investment in the nation’s entire transportation infrastructure, the federal government will make a “robust” investment in modernization efforts to help move from a radar-based air traffic control system to one based on newer technologies and provide funds to rehabilitate or reconstruct 150 miles of runway.

The six-year plan will not increase the federal deficit and features improvements in the way infrastructure improvements are funded. The plan calls for the creation of a new Infrastructure Bank that will leverage federal dollars and focus on the smartest investments in order to pay for job-creating infrastructure improvements.

According to a White House fact sheet, the NextGen investment is intended to help with the installation of technologies required to “move from a national ground-based radar surveillance system to a more accurate satellite-based surveillance system—the backbone of a broader effort to reduce delays for passengers, increase fuel efficiency for carriers, and cut airport noise for those who live and work near airports.”

In a statement released on Monday, AOPA President Craig Fuller said, “We appreciate the recognition in President Obama’s infrastructure announcement of the critical role aviation plays in the nation’s transportation system. AOPA will work to support the president’s infrastructure program to ensure the monies are used effectively at airports across the country and to advance the modernization of our air traffic control system as part of the FAA’s NextGen initiative.

“But as Congress and the administration proceed, it is vitally important that they both remember that general aviation is an integral part of the national transportation system, and that the key to the success of NextGen is a commitment by the government to invest in new technologies for all users.”

Could this improve your flying? We’d like to know; please feel free to leave a comment detailing how you feel this might affect your flying.


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This article was written by Matthew Everett, a private pilot, aviation writer, and frequent contributor to AviationSchoolsOnline.com. You can follow him on twitter @leaving_tf or find his blog at http://leavingterrafirma.com

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