Congress has given the FAA something of an ultimatum: "speed it
up", regarding a program aimed at improving runway safety at
airports across the nation.
The House Appropriations Committee said this week it plans to
increase funding for a program to install the Airport Surface
Detection Equipment-X system at airports across the country by $10
million, bringing total spending on the program to $73.6
The Chicago Tribune reports the new system is designed to give
pilots and air-traffic controllers immediate alerts of probable
runway incursions on the ground. It also tracks ground traffic by
collecting data from multiple sources, including ground radar and
airplane transponders, to create a real-time map of all airplanes
and other vehicles operating on an airfield.
The committee says it is not impressed with how slowly the FAA
has moved to implement the program... and hopes the extra money
greases the wheels a little. Chicago's O'Hare airport was cited as
the airport most in need of the new system.
In addition, the committee is also calling on the FAA to
accelerate its modernization programs for ATC radar facilities in
Chicago, and eight other cities.