Arlington, Va. — The removal of air traffic modernization from GAO’s list of high-risk government programs is an endorsement of years of effort to make improvements and should boost development of the new satellite-based air transportation system, known as NextGen. In the report, GAO officials said the FAA addressed most of the root causes of past problems and has shown commitment to sustaining progress. The fact that air traffic modernization was the only program removed from the list this year, and one of only 19 ever removed from the list since 1990, speaks volumes.

This GAO decision bolsters the case for including NextGen in any list of infrastructure projects to be part of the economic stimulus plan now being considered in Congress. Investment of $4 billion for NextGen equipment purchase and installation will provide much-needed upgrades that will make flying more efficient as well as create 77,000 jobs in the near term. It is also an investment in green technology, since the new system will provide dramatic improvements in environmental performance.