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GAO discussed the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) fiscal year (FY) 1992 budget request, focusing on the facilities and equipment (F&E) account and the operations account. GAO noted that: (1) the total estimated cost of air traffic control modernization funded by F&E through 2000 increased from $27 billion in 1990 to $31 billion in 1991; (2) since January 1990, 8 of 12 major systems experienced schedule slips, resulting in the completion of only 1 FAA project during 1990; (3) schedule slips adversely affected the budget and delayed safety and productivity improvements, causing FAA to develop interim projects and incur costs for storing new equipment it had intended to install; (4) weaknesses in the FAA acquisition process and its budgeting for acquisitions contributed to cost increases and schedule slips; and (5) the FAA operations appropriation request of $4.5 billion represented a 10-percent increase over the FY 1991 budget. GAO believes that FAA has remedied staff shortages, but has not: (1) achieved its goals for the number and distribution of full performance controllers; (2) determined the impact of greater demands resulting from aging aircraft inspections; (3) determined that best balance to maintain the air traffic control system; and (4) fully trained inspectors on new technologies.

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