2008-06-06 / Top Stories

Clinton: FAA Should Increase Staffing

Senator Hillary Rodham has joined a bipartisan coalition of her colleagues in pushing the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to address a shortage in the level of their technical staff. These technicians are charged with the maintenance and certification of the radar, communication and navigation systems that comprise our nation's air traffic control system. In a letter to Acting FAA Administrator Bobby Sturgell, the lawmakers expressed their serious concerns that the FAA now has fewer than 6,100 technicians on staff, which is the figure previously agreed upon by the agency as the minimum number required to safely maintain the system.

"The figure of 6,100 technicians is the FAA's own low-water mark, and we can not maintain the safety and integrity of our air traffic control system if the agency is not meeting its own minimum staffing standards," said Senator Clinton. "It can not be overstated how critical the air traffic control system is to ensuring safety in our skies, and we have already seen the results these deficiencies have caused in the form of numerous outages and increased delays. Now is the time to do all we can to bring staffing levels up to an acceptable level to help ensure that passenger safety is not being compromised."

Senator Clinton worked with her colleagues in Congress to offer an amendment to the FAA Reauthorization bill to prevent the FAAfrom implementing a plan that would have eliminated the jobs of the highly-technical, safetyrelated engineers currently stationed in six of the nine FAA's Regional Offices.

The Regional Offices that would be subject to consolidation are those in Boston, New York, Kansas City, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Anchorage. While Senate Republicans blocked the FAA Reauthorization bill and stymied this important legislation, Senator Clinton continues to remain focused on addressing the serious problems facing our nation's air travel system.

Earlier this month, Senator Clinton offered an amendment to strengthen the FAA Reauthorization bill's "revolving door" provision, which would prevent FAA inspectors or managers who supervise inspectors from working for airlines that they inspect for two years after leaving the agency. Conversely, it would prevent airline employees from moving to the FAA to inspect or supervise inspections on that airline for two years.

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