Congressman proposes guaranteeing NextGen equipment

Congressman Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) issued a proposal Friday to have the U.S. government provide grants and loan guarantees to enable general aviation, airlines and other aviation participants to begin installing technology for NextGen (the next generation air traffic system).

“We can’t handle the air traffic tomorrow with technology that dates back a half-century,” he said.

The idea was stressed Wednesday to the Transportation and Infrastructure aviation subcommittee in testimony by Craig Fuller, president of Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), as one way to speed equipment installation in all aircraft.

Under Lipinski’s proposal, loan guarantees of up to 80% would be available with a three-year deferment period designed to encourage investing now. He said manufacturing and installing NextGen equipment would create 33,000 American jobs.

Federal guarantee of loans has been under consideration for some time as a means of getting the industry to more quickly install needed equipment.

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