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Highlights

Aviation experts believe that building runways is one key way to address airport capacity issues and prevent delays that can affect the entire U.S. economy, but runway projects are often controversial and time-consuming. GAO was asked to examine how much time airports spend completing runways, what challenges airports and other stakeholders experience during this process, and what airports and other stakeholders have done to address challenges related to runway projects. GAO analyzed the results of surveys from 30 airports on 32 runway projects and visited 5 airports in order to interview numerous runway project stakeholders. The Department of Transportation agreed with GAO's characterization of the challenges associated with building runways and some of the initiatives taken to address these challenges. They did express some concerns related to GAO's analysis of the time airports spent or estimated spending in developing runways, and suggested that GAO acknowledge additional FAA efforts to improve the runway process. We believe that our approach was a reasonable assessment of the amount of time taken to build runways; however, we clarified our discussion about the length of time. We also added information regarding initiatives undertaken by FAA.

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