House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) issued the following statement today after Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administrator Michael Huerta announced that a five percent budget reduction due to sequestration would result in the furloughing of thousands of air traffic controllers and potentially disrupt the travel plans of the flying public:
"The FAA's management of sequestration is quickly going from bad to worse. Given that the FAA's budget increased more than 100 percent over the last 15 years, finding five percent in savings shouldn't need to significantly impact our nation's aviation operations. Businesses and families across the country face these issues in their budgets every day without massive impacts. We know that the FAA has the flexibility to reduce costs elsewhere, such as contracts, travel, supplies, and consultants, or to apply furloughs in a manner that better protects the most critical air traffic control facilities. Yet rather than take this approach, the Administration has made choices that appear designed to have the greatest possible impact on the traveling public.
"What's perhaps most troubling is that the FAA has known about the sequester for almost two years and gave Congress and the airline industry less than a week's notice about its implementation plans. This disregard for the American public is indicative that the Administration views the sequester as an attempt to score political points rather than address real issues and find real savings in a bloated federal bureaucracy."
Note: There are $2.7 billion in non-personnel Operations costs that should be examined before FAA personnel are furloughed.
-Operations covers both personnel costs AND non-personnel costs -- such as contracts, travel, supplies, and consultants
-Examples of non-personnel costs include:
*Nearly $500 million for consultants
*$325 million in supplies and travel
*The FAA has 46 aircraft that cost $143 million to operate