Chairman Rockefeller's Remarks on Reauthorization of the National Transportation Safety Board

October 29, 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The National Transportation Safety Board is a world-class investigative body with over 40 years of experience.  Its recommendations have helped save countless lives and led to safety improvements in all aspects of our transportation system.
Unfortunately, it has been a busy year at the NTSB, which has been involved in a number of high-profile investigations.  From the tragic accident on the Metro system here in our nation’s capital, to the crash of Continental Flight 3407 in Buffalo, New York, NTSB investigators have been on the scene to lead the investigation right away.  I commend the agency for its unwavering commitment to public safety and for carrying out its responsibilities so diligently.
Reauthorization legislation gives us an opportunity to address key challenges facing both the NTSB and our nation’s critical transportation system.  The NTSB has found that fatigue has been a factor in several accidents and has provided valuable information that Congress, the Department of Transportation, and others need to make sure this issue is effectively addressed. 
Meanwhile, I am concerned that the NTSB itself still needs to better address management issues and the inefficient use of resources at the agency.  Especially in these difficult financial times, we must guarantee that all taxpayer money is spent wisely. I understand Chairman Hersman is working to correct any inefficiencies and has already seen important progress.
I want to thank Chairman Hersman and Dr. Dillingham for appearing before the Committee today.  We intend to pass the NTSB reauthorization legislation soon, and your feedback is critical. Together, we can make real progress and improve the safety of our transportation system.