Buttigieg warns shutdown would set back progress on air travel 


At a Home Transportation and Infrastructure Committee listening to, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg warned a possible authorities shutdown would set again progress the division has made on air journey. 

At Wednesday’s listening to, committee members sought data from Buttigieg in regards to the U.S. Division of Transportation’s infrastructure funding and present tasks, however in addition they took the chance to ask the transportation secretary how a possible authorities shutdown would have an effect on the division. 

With fiscal 2024 funding talks at a standstill and a possible authorities shutdown, Buttigieg mirrored on how the shutdown can be detrimental to the transportation division and its progress. 

Following the coronavirus pandemic, the air journey business took a success, with Americans spending only $1.5 trillion on travel in 2020 in comparison with $2.6 trillion in 2019, and it nonetheless is coping with air visitors management staffing shortages. The air journey business confronted adversity and scrutiny in recent times, with flights typically being delayed and canceled, due partly to a staffing scarcity. Extreme weather and poor planning are amongst different causes for the excessive variety of flight delays and cancellations in recent times.  

Nevertheless, the Division of Transportation had a aim of hiring 1,500 new air visitors controllers by the top of 2023 in an try and shift away from the chaotic air journey that has outlined the previous few years. 

Buttigieg shared that whereas the aim has been met, the potential authorities shutdown would pose a severe risk to any current progress. 

“I’m happy to say that we hit our goal of 1,500 this yr to be employed, and we’ve got about 2,600 air visitors controllers within the pipeline,” Buttigieg stated. “However I’d even be remiss if I didn’t point out {that a} authorities shutdown would cease us in our tracks in terms of hiring at precisely the flawed second, whereas those that are certified controllers within the tower can be permitted to proceed working. It might cease coaching at only a second after we’re lastly trending optimistic once more, when it comes to the variety of individuals able to take their seats.” 

Even when the shutdown lasted solely a short while, Buttigieg stated it might set the division’s progress again drastically. With 2,600 air visitors controllers in coaching, the shutdown would cease that coaching. 

“Even the shutdown lasting a number of weeks might set us again by months or extra due to how complicated that [air traffic control] coaching is,” he stated. “And we can not afford that form of politically pushed disruption on the very second, after we lastly have these air visitors management report numbers headed in the suitable course.” 

In his opening, Buttigieg appealed to members of the committee, saying that although nice progress has been made on infrastructure in the course of the Biden administration, there may be nonetheless work to be performed. Buttigieg defined the necessity for a partnership between his division and Congress, so the progress could possibly be maintained.  

Buttigieg stated he wants assist from Congress on two fronts — stopping a authorities shutdown and persevering with to push infrastructure laws. 

“That’s why whilst we preserve full pace forward to ship good infrastructure tasks,” Buttigieg stated. “We additionally search your additional partnership in two crucial areas: one, making certain our transportation security work can proceed by stopping a authorities shutdown; and two, delivering additional enhancements which can be achievable solely via new laws.” 

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