"FAA Reauthorization "
J. Randolph Babbitt, Oakland International Airport
September 13, 2011

FAA Reauthorization Press Conference

Remarks as prepared for delivery

Good morning everyone. I also want to thank you for coming here today. It’s vitally important that Congress reauthorize the FAA before Friday.

Projects like this new Oakland air traffic control tower are critical to our aviation system. Oakland is a gateway—a key facility in a key location. This airport serves about 10 million people a year. We want to do everything we can to help this airport and this community continue to provide the highest quality air transportation.

But a failure to extend the FAA’s spending authority once again will stop this vital progress. It will again stop improvements to airport towers, runways and taxiways across the country.

This is critical infrastructure that provides a critical service to our economy.  

We cannot afford to have nearly 4,000 FAA employees sidelined again. We need these employees at work, continuing to modernize our aviation system—continuing to adopt new technologies and procedures that are friendly to the environment and that reduce delays. 

When Congress failed to give us the authority to spend money this summer, it brought our modernization efforts to a halt. It put the FAA in a holding pattern.

The partial shutdown of the FAA also wasted money by requiring us to stop construction projects and then restart them.  

Here in Oakland, the contractor is telling us that stopping construction of the tower cost about $6,000 each day in rental expenses for scaffolding, trailers and other worksite equipment.

In Las Vegas, the contractor has submitted a claim for $360,000 extra because of the furlough.

In Traverse City, Michigan we have been told we will have to pay at least $75,000 more for the control tower because the contractor had to remove a crane during the furlough and then haul it back.

This is no way to do business. This is no way to run the best aviation system in the world.

Aviation is an important economic engine for this country. It provides good-paying jobs and is vital to commerce.

The FAA has had 21 short-term reauthorizations in the last four years.

Parceling out money to the FAA in short term increments makes it very difficult to plan the long term improvements we need.

It makes it difficult for America to remain the leader.

The FAA provides a vital service to America and we need Congress to support this important work by passing a multi-year FAA reauthorization bill to keep America flying.

Thank you very much for your time. I would now like to introduce our next speaker.