Old issues still divide in debate over NextGen funding

04/14/2009 | National Public Radio

NPR looks into the impasse over NextGen funding, noting that lawmakers writing new bills still face the same tensions that doomed earlier efforts. Though powerful Democrats like North Dakota Sen. Byron Dorgan oppose a system of fees designed to shift some of the cost to general aviation, $7 billion of fee income is assumed in the budget submitted by the Obama administration. That could spark a new fight on Capitol Hill, since the details of the source and collection of those funds from among all system users have not yet been agreed upon and have derailed talks on the Hill in the past. Meanwhile, air carriers are anxious to take advantage of NextGen, especially since some are making substantial investments in new technology. Joe Kolshak, United Airlines' senior vice president of operations, said, "The old adage is, 'Build it and they will come.' We've come, and they haven't built it."

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