Today's News / Transportation Safety

Does Congressional stalemate mean danger in the sky?

 Congress’ failure to pass a Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) bill before going on vacation has put 74,000 aviation-related jobs in limbo, but Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood insists that air travel is still safe.

 Nearly 4,000 FAA personnel have been furloughed and 70,000 construction workers sent home from airport modernization projects around the country. “If Congress doesn't act until reconvening after Labor Day, these families will have endured nearly 50 days without income,” said LaHood, in the FAA’s blog.

“We are fortunate that our air traffic controllers are still on the job, and flying is safe. We are fortunate that many airport inspectors have volunteered not only to work without pay, but to rack up expenses on their credit cards while they do their jobs. We are fortunate that we started from the position of having the best aviation system in the world. But, this is no way to run that system.”

President Obama called congressional failure to pass the legislation "another Washington-inflicted wound on America."

In a statement, the FAA insisted that “the safety of the flying public will not be compromised.”

The bill – the victim of partisan politics -- would have given the FAA the authority necessary to continue various operations, including critical airport modernization projects around the company. At issue: provisions that would hamper unions in efforts to organize airline employees and the elimination of subsidies to airlines in rural areas.

The $16 million a year that would be saved by ending the subsidy is dwarfed by the $33 million in uncollected ticket-tax revenue being lost each day the stalemate continues. The FAA estimates that by September 7, when lawmakers roll back into town and resume legislative business, the lost revenue tally will be up to $1.3 billion – at a time when the nation is grappling with an enormous budget deficit .

It is unclear whether or not the taxes can be collected retroactively.

In the meantime, during prime construction season, dozens of “stop work orders” have been issued for major projects designed to build and modernize control towers and other aviation infrastructure features. The FAA said that stopping work on these projects could signifantly increase the ultimate costs of construction for taxpayers.

“Unless Congress acts quickly, more work on projects critical to our nation’s aviation system will come to a halt. Work is stopping on construction and planning projects, NextGen system testing, and airport certification.  The list goes on and on and this is just the beginning,” said FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt.

 

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to ISHN.

You must login or register in order to post a comment.

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

Scenes from the World of Safety

Sights, signs & symbols from the National Safety Congress & Expo held in San Diego, CA, September 15-18

4/21/15 2:00 pm EDT

The Safety Selfie: It’s time to take a “snap shot” of your safety program and contemplate what others see

We all know perception is reality and that people perceive things differently. As a safety manager, your perception of your safety program almost certainly differs from that of your workers and your managers. We will use our “Safety Selfies” to expose weaknesses, real and perceived, and to talk about how best to make improvements.

ISHN Magazine

ISHN0515_cover.jpg

2015 May

In this month's issue of ISHN, check out articles about heat protection, radiation in the workplace, and welding fumes

Table Of Contents Subscribe

THE ISHN STORE

M:\General Shared\__AEC Store Katie Z\AEC Store\Images\ISHN\safetyfourth.jpg
Safety Engineering, 4th Edition

A practical, solutions-driven reference, Safety Engineering, 4th edition, has been completely revised and updated to reflect many of today’s issues in safety.

More Products

For Distributors Only - January 2015

FDO JAN 2015 COVER

 

For Distributors Only is ISHN's niche brand standard-sized magazine supplement aimed at an audience of 2,000 U.S. distributors that sell safety products. Circulation only goes to distributors. 

CHECK OUT THE JANUARY 2015 ISSUE OF FDO HERE

STAY CONNECTED

Facebook logo Twitter YouTubeLinkedIn Google + icon

ishn infographics

2012 US workplace deathsCheck out ISHN's new Infographic page! Learn more about worker safety through these interactive images. CLICK HERE to view the page.