A report by the US Department of Transportation's Office of Inspector General reveals that hundreds of million of dollars in congressional allocations sent to the Federal Aviation Administration last year caused delays of three years or more for certain higher-priority projects and introduced otherwise unplanned projects with negative cost-benefit results.

According to the document, the FAA received more than $408 million divided among 204 projects last year, 180 of which bypassed the agency's "authority to review and select projects based on merit". Allocations for the FAA's Airport Improvement Program (AIP) added up to more than $200 million for 125 projects, 72 of them on the FAA's AIP list of candidate airports to receive funding and 53 that were not.

Nine out of the 10 earmarked projects targeting the replacement of air traffic control towers or air traffic control facilities, totalling $31.5 million, were considered to be "low-priority projects that would not have received funding otherwise", says the OIG. Further, the projects delayed planning of "higher priority projects" by at least three years.

Source: Flight International