US budget proposes $1b investment in NextGen

Washington DC
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The proposed US government budget will allocate almost $1 billion in fiscal year 2014 to be invested in the US Federal Aviation Administration's Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen), and will reduce funding for the agency's airport grants.

The investment for NextGen is part of a total of $76.6 billion in resources for the US Department of Transportation in the proposed fiscal 2014 budget, unveiled today by US President Barack Obama's administration.

"These funds would continue to support the transformation from a ground-based radar surveillance system to a more accurate satellite-based surveillance system; the development of 21st century data communications capability between air traffic control and aircraft to improve efficiency; and the improvement of aviation weather information," says Obama's Office of Management and Budget.

The US government's 2014 fiscal year begins 1 October and ends on 30 September 2014.

NextGen will transform the US' ground-based system of air traffic control to a satellite-based system, with the FAA targetting to implement it in stages through 2025.

Under the proposed budget, funding for the FAA's airport grants programme will be reduced to $2.9 billion, down $450 million from the enacted level in fiscal year 2012.

The reduction will be done by eliminating guaranteed funding for large hub airports, and will instead focus federal grants on smaller commercial and general aviation airports with no access to additional revenue or other sources of capital.

The proposed budget would also allow larger airports to increase the limit on non-federal passenger facility charges to $8 from $4.50. Such charges are collected by airports from passengers to fund FAA-approved projects that improve security and capacity, reduce noise or increase airline competition at airports.