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Letter Responding to Questions About the Cost and Schedule of FAA’s NextGen

Chairman Bill Shuster, House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
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On July 11, 2016, the Chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure requested our responses to three questions related to the cost and schedule of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen). Specifically, he asked about (1) the amount FAA has invested in NextGen since fiscal year 2003; (2) the date when NextGen will be completed; and (3) the amount of additional funding needed to complete NextGen, compared to initial estimates. Our letter to the Chairman summarizes information we obtained from completed and ongoing NextGen work. We stated that Congress has provided over $7 billion to FAA through fiscal year 2016 to invest in NextGen. However, the NextGen completion date is unclear due to shifting Agency priorities and undefined final requirements for major acquisition systems. The amount of additional funding needed to complete NextGen is also uncertain due to several factors. For example, FAA has not fully identified the total costs for the six NextGen transformational programs. Additionally, other factors that will materially impact the overall cost of NextGen include controlling costs when acquiring new systems, identifying and preventing cybersecurity risks, improving system resiliency, and integrating Unmanned Aircraft Systems.