IT has stake in aviation funding plan

Information technology has a stake in the four-year aviation reauthorization proposal that Transportation Department Secretary Norman Mineta submitted to Congress today.

The Centennial of Flight Aviation Authorization Act (Flight-100) provides financial backing for key IT initiatives, including air traffic control modernization, officials said.

"Flight-100 will help increase capacity and efficiency throughout our aviation system while improving the existing environmental review process," Mineta said in a news release.

Those results represent the bulk of what the Federal Aviation Administration hopes to accomplish with its Operational Evolution Plan (OEP), a mix of IT and other projects.

The funding in Flight-100 — including $7.5 billion in fiscal 2004 for operations and maintenance, a 7 percent increase over the 2003 request — would support implementation of the OEP, officials said. Another $2.9 billion has been earmarked to meet the FAA's facilities and equipment needs.

Under Flight-100, $3.4 billion annually would go to the Airport Improvement Program, which the administration wants to restructure to target more money to small airports.

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