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Stevens Reiterates Concerns About FAA Budget Cuts To Alaska Programs


May 04, 2006

Today, Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) participated in a hearing held by the Senate Appropriations Transportation, Treasury, the Judiciary, and Housing and Urban Development Subcommittee. The purpose of this hearing was to review funding cuts in the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Fiscal Year 2007 (FY07) budget. During the hearing, Stevens shared his concerns about the impact proposed budget cuts to Alaska programs will have on aviation safety.




Stevens highlighted the national importance of Alaska's aviation safety programs. "In the past, our skies were the most dangerous in the country," he said. "[These] expenses are necessary to meet the United States' obligation to those who fly into or out of our airspace."

Stevens expressed concern that funding for the following Alaska programs, which play an essential role in improving aviation safety, was severely reduced or eliminated in the FAA FY07 budget:

  • Upgrades to the Loran-C system, a ground-based, long-range navigational aid used by mariners and aviators;
  • The Alaska Volcano Observatory, which monitors volcanic eruptions in order to minimize their impact on any aircraft flying over Alaska;
  • The Medallion Foundation Five Star Shield Program, an industry-sponsored initiative that promotes safe flying practices among air carriers in Alaska; and
  • The Capstone Program, a safety program that accelerates the implementation and use of modern technology.

Stevens also criticized the FAA's proposed cuts during a hearing held earlier this year by the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Subcommittee on Aviation. In March 2006, he told FAA Administrator Marion Blakey that he did not understand how the FAA arrived at their decision to severely cut funding for programs that have proven vital to airport management and aviation safety in Alaska.



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Ketchikan, Alaska