Rockefeller, Dorgan Dissatisfied with MWAA Responses at Oversight Hearing

Announce Request for Federal Investigation and Intent to Hold Additional Hearings

September 17, 2010

SCom: AviationWASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee Chairman John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV and Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security Subcommittee Chairman Byron L. Dorgan today announced that they intend to conduct further oversight of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA or Authority) in an effort to provide greater transparency and accountability regarding the Authority’s operation and maintenance of National Airport and Dulles Airport.

“We left this week’s hearing on MWAA oversight very unsatisfied by the responses we heard from the Authority’s witnesses,” Chairman Rockefeller said. “MWAA’s actions have broad implications for other regions of the country, American consumers and essential federal initiatives—including the modernization of our air traffic control system. Our Committee will continue to follow up until we receive adequate answers to our questions.”

“What we heard at the hearing this week persuaded both Senator Rockefeller and me that there needs to be much more accountability for this Authority, which was created by Congress. The hearing raised questions about how the Authority is managed, and what kind of planning it is doing,” Senator Dorgan said. “We need more hearings to determine what kind of accountability exists, and how that accountability should change. We need a comprehensive look at the Authority’s finances and other actions, which have led to National Airport being one of the highest fare airports in the country.” 

The Senate Commerce Committee will request that the Department of Transportation Inspector General conduct an investigation into MWAA’s compliance with Congressional mandates, and initiate a comprehensive review by the Government Accountability Office of its previous reporting on the Washington area airports’ ability to handle additional capacity and beyond-perimeter flights. As this information is developed the Committee plans to schedule additional hearings on MWAA to bring clarity to its relationship with Congress.