GPS augmentation funding mixed

Most of the Transportation Department's funding requests for augmentations

to the Global Positioning System satellite navigation signal in 2001 survived

a House Appropriation Committee vote. But the Coast Guard's Nationwide Differential

GPS System was offered no funding for fiscal 2001.

On May 19, the committee approved $75 million for the Federal Aviation Administration's

Wide-Area Augmentation System and $31 million for its Local-Area Augmentation

System, NDGPS suffered for the second year in a row. It received $5 million

in fiscal 2000, half of the agency's request, and none of its $18.7 million

request for fiscal 2001.

GPS experts predicted that augmentations such as NDGPS would be deemed unnecessary

after the May 1 announcement to terminate selective availability, which

intentionally degraded the GPS signal offered to civilian users.

NDGPS is a nationwide network of transmitters that, combined with coastal

DGPS operated by the Coast Guard, will provide accuracy of less than a meter

99 percent of the time in the United States, Alaska and Hawaii. It also

verifies the integrity of the signal, which is necessary for public transportation

use.

A Senate version of the DOT appropriations bill is pending.

The Defense Department's 2001 appropriations bill (S. 2593) passed a Senate

subcommittee with GPS funding at requested levels, including a new section

addressing civilian GPS needs.

MORE INFO

"FAA system on GAO's radar screen" [FCW.com, April 6, 2000]

"FAA goals may fall short" [FCW.com, March 28, 2000]

"Civilian GPS: Long on promise, short on funds" [Federal Computer Week,March 13, 2000]

Version of H.R. 4475 referred to Senate (PDF)

Defense appropriations bill (PDF)

BY Paula Shaki Trimble
May 29, 2000

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