Airport Development

Improvement Needed in Federal Planning Gao ID: T-RCED-92-30 February 19, 1992

This testimony focuses on changes that GAO believes would help ensure the advantageous use of limited Airport and Airway Trust Funds. GAO testified that oversight of the Aviation Trust Fund could be enhanced if decisionmakers knew how various spending decisions would benefit or harm the national aviation system. This knowledge is, however, not now available through the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) national airport plan. While FAA's supplements to the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems will make it more descriptive, these changes add little to the plan's value as an effective planning tool. GAO believes that more basic changes are needed, such as establishing goals, making the content of the national airport plan more credible, and developing feedback mechanisms. If Congress believes that the airport development plan should include investment options, FAA might find the concepts and principles underlying the Secretary's highway and bridge report helpful. In particular, this report could help FAA identify the criteria and methodologies for quantifying investment requirements both to preserve the airport system at current service levels and to improve the system to meet increased service levels.

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