Wrong direction: Watchdog cites costly mistakes in overhaul of air traffic program

WHO: Federal Aviation Administration

WHAT: The FAA is experiencing substantial delays and cost overruns in a key component of its effort to modernize the U.S. air traffic control system, an inspector general’s report found. The inspector general, Calvin L. Scovel, is concerned with a computer program that manages planes at high altitudes using GPS technology. The current system relies on World War II-era radar technology.

WHY IT’S AN OUTRAGE: Scovel said in a letter to lawmakers that more than 200 problems were found with the program, prompting a temporary halt to testing. The computer woes will force the FAA to maintain aging equipment longer than planned and retrain air traffic controllers. The FAA estimates it will need to spend about $200 million for the program this fiscal year, about $70 million more than projected.

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