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Highlights

Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO reviewed the benefit-cost studies that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) conducted for the Cherry Capital Airport in 1994, 1996, and 1997, focusing on: (1) FAA's decisionmaking process for installing surveillance radars at airports; (2) the factors, including costs, benefits, and air traffic projections, that FAA considered when conducting the 1994, 1996, and 1997 studies; (3) the impact, if any, that air traffic projections developed by other sources would have had on the results of the 1997 study; (4) actions FAA has taken to address safety concerns at the airport; and (5) FAA's plans to replace surveillance radars at airports with fewer total air traffic operations than the Cherry Capital Airport.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Transportation 1. Because of budget constraints and the future expenditures associated with installing radars as part of the effort to modernize the nation's air traffic control system, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator, FAA, to conduct benefit-cost studies to validate the cost-effectiveness and revalidate the need for the radars at airports scheduled to receive replacement radars and to use the results of the studies in prioritizing the replacement of the radars at qualifying airports.
Closed - Not Implemented
FAA determined that there continues to be an operational need for radars at all airports identified in the appendix to the report. Therefore, FAA does not plan to do the cost/benefit studies GAO recommended, does not plan to decommission any of the radars, and plans to proceed with replacing the old radars with the newer radars at all airports.
Federal Aviation Administration 2. FAA should advise Congress on the results of these studies for its consideration during deliberations on the Department of Transportation's budget request.
Closed - Not Implemented
FAA did not conduct any benefit/cost studies, so there is nothing to report to the Congress.

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