OIG Audit of Federal Contract Tower program should answer 3 important policy questions

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Audit Announcement—Update on FAA’s Contract Tower Program

Requested by the Chairmen of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and Subcommittee on Aviation

Project ID: 18A3008A000

H2 Federal Contract Tower program, 30 years old

H3 OIG has studied FCT before

H4 Stakeholders support

H5 OIG should answer 3 big questions

Chairman Shuster has asked the US DOT Office of Inspector General to update its prior work and review FAA’s efforts to revise its benefit-cost analysis (BCA) for the FAA Contract Tower (FCT) Program. FAA uses this BCA to support decision-making for establishing or discontinuing a tower under the Program. Accordingly, our audit objectives will be to assess (1) the FCT Program’s safety record and cost effectiveness and (2) the status of the benefit-cost analysis revisions. FCTs are operated by three contractors and the Air National Guard at 250 towers throughout the United States.

Over 30 years, the OIG completed multiple audits evaluating the Program. Most recently, in 2012, we reported that contract towers provide air traffic control services at lower costs than similar FAA towers and maintain equivalent safety levels. The OIG reported that airspace users strongly supported the Program.

The major stakeholders support full funding of FCT:

·     DON’T LET CONTRACT TOWER PROGRAM RUN OUT OF FUEL

AOPA, along with eight other industry organizations, sent a letter to members of Congress on March 2, urging them to allocate $172 million to protect funding for the highly successful FAA Contract Tower Program.

This is a policy issue whose time has come. Here are some commentaries on the FCT:

After 30 years and at least three OIG audits:

11.05.2012

07.18.2012

04.06.2011

it is time for the OIG not just to answer the two questions posed by Chairman Shuster, BUT to use its determinations to

  1. To recommend whether the FTC has permanent status 

and/or

2. To decide whether the Remote Tower technology is a solution/alternative

and/or

3. To decide why these private employers are able to operate at lower costs than similar FAA towers and maintain equivalent safety levels {Mr. Poole of the Reason Foundation will appreciate this answer.}

The OIG expresses it views frequently. The facts of this audit should provide the information needed to answer the above three seminal questions.



 

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