At the Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration, we have one fundamental obligation: helping Americans move safely to their destinations. The American people entrust us with their safety. As long as I am on the job, we will never take that trust lightly.
That’s why I couldn’t disagree more with the Guest Observer “Aviation Safety Hinges on Long-Term FAA Bill,” which appeared in Roll Call’s pages on Nov. 28. Congress must act and reauthorize the FAA so this critical agency has the long-term stability it deserves. But the public should not worry for one minute that the lack of reauthorization will somehow jeopardize their safety in our nation’s skies. It just isn’t true.
The facts could not be clearer. Even during the FAA shutdown last summer, all essential safety professionals were on the job. Airport safety inspectors continued to ensure airports around the country met our high safety standards. Air traffic controllers made certain that planes departed and arrived safely. Not a single safety-critical function was halted because of Congressional inaction. We will never compromise the public’s safety.
The United States is home to the world’s safest aviation system. Our solemn responsibility is to keep it that way.
— Ray LaHood, secretary of Transportation