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GAO discussed Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) appropriation issues, focusing on: (1) air traffic control modernization; (2) National Airspace System (NAS) Plan implementation problems; and (3) work force issues. GAO found that: (1) 23 percent of the 89 NAS projects were complete, but 28 percent were still in the design or development phases; (2) the FAA facilities and equipment (F&E) request of almost $2 billion for fiscal year (FY) 1990 represents a 41-percent increase over the FY 1989 F&E appropriation, and FAA may need to request an estimated $4.5 billion in FY 1991 in order to meet current modernization schedules; (3) the significant increase in F&E funding needs will require FAA to revise its modernization plan and prioritize its projects; (4) FAA has not formally established the staffing necessary to implement modernization projects to meet existing schedules; (5) as of January 19, 1989, six of the nine FAA regions had not issued any work authorizations to the primary installation contractor; (6) FAA did not adequately define the tasks and scheduling needed to complete implementation; (7) FAA has made progress rebuilding its controller work force, but will probably not meet its staffing goals for full-performance-level controllers in the time frames established; and (8) maintenance technician staffing shortages could require FAA to contract for maintenance services, even though it has not determined whether the private sector can adequately provide such services.

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