Committee Members will hear testimony from the following nominees:
Robert A. Sturgell, to be Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (PN 1005)
Simon Charles Gros, to be Assistant Secretary of Transportation for Governmental Affairs, Department of Transportation (PN 977)
Daniel K. InouyeSenatorThe Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires strong leadership to improve its safety record and to address several significant challenges currently before the agency. Congestion and flight delays have grown to record levels over the past year, and I believe the FAA must take immediate action to help resolve these problems before our system becomes overwhelmed and we find ourselves in gridlock.Mr. Sturgell, these are just some of the challenges you will face, if confirmed.The FAA must begin modernizing the air traffic control system in earnest. Although some modernization efforts are underway, the agency needs to make substantial progress over the next few years to ensure our air traffic control system has the capacity to meet rapidly growing demand. In addition, the FAA must continue its essential work on improving the safety of air travel.The relationship you have with your workforce is also critical to the performance of the agency. Effective air traffic control is central to the FAA’s success, and I am concerned about morale problems among some FAA employees. I would very much like to hear your views on this matter and to hear about any steps you intend to take that would promote a positive and fulfilling workplace environment at the FAA.Mr. Sturgell, I must stress to you the importance of having a FAA Administrator who is willing to communicate directly with Congress and who will work aggressively to move the agency forward in this critical period. Time is short, funding is tight, and the next FAA Administrator must oversee the modernization of the National Airspace System.This Committee and the Congress expect you to work closely with us in addressing the immediate and the long-term issues facing the FAA and to be an effective advocate for the best path forward with both the White House and the legislative branch.With respect to the Office for Governmental Affairs, Mr. Gros, if confirmed, you will be responsible for representing the Department of Transportation (DOT) in its dealings with Congress and working closely with Members and staff on legislative efforts. This is an essential mission. In addition to reauthorizing the FAA, there are a number of important transportation issues that the DOT and Congress must address in the coming year.To name a few, we must enact Amtrak and rail safety legislation, strengthen truck safety, and fully implement the important pipeline safety legislation recently enacted by Congress. A good working relationship between Congress and the Department of Transportation is vital if we are going to find solutions to these challenges and improve the quality of our Nation’s transportation systems.Thank you for appearing before us today and thank you for your commitment to public service. Should you be confirmed, I look forward to working with each of you.
Thank you Mr. Chairman. I think these are two very important positions for public transportation and I look forward to this hearing today. Aviation is a very important part of any state in the union, and it is literally the life blood of Alaska. 70% of our state can be reached only by air year round. You must use a boat from time to time. But year round transportation is dependent on aviation. It is important that the FAA maintain knowledge of Alaska, and Mr. Sturgell I am a little concerned about the retention of people in the FAA in Alaska. The retention seems to be a critical thing, attrition is very high and as a cause of our unique terrain it is an enormous aviation community. It is essential that we have the people up there who understand the state and understand the weather. I look forward to having the chance to discuss this with you and I want to work with the Chairman, and both of you, and try to see if we can do our best to improve the aviation system of our country.
The Honorable Frank LoBiondoUnited States RepresentiveNew Jersey
Witness Panel 1
The Honorable Robert A. SturgellNominated to be AdministratorFederal Aviation Administration
Mr. Simon Charles GrosNominated to be Assistant Secretary of Transportation for Governmental AffairsDepartment of Transportation