LaHood: 'State of America's Skies? Safer than Ever'

The U.S. transportation secretary says continued investment in infrastructure is essential to cope with growth in air traffic and to boost international trade.

Speaking one day after President Obama's State of the Union speech, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood likewise gave a strong pitch for infrastructure investment. Speaking to members of the Aero Club of Washington, he said America's skies are "the safest they’ve ever been. And they’re getting safer all the time. But, that doesn’t mean there isn't more work to do. Safety will always be our number one priority."

DOT's Fast Lane blog featured photos and a summary of LaHood's speech Jan. 27. He said the FAA's NextGen system will ease congestion and allow the air traffic control system to accommodate an expected 50 percent increase in air travel during the next decade. "Given the President's goal of doubling American exports within five years, NextGen is also essential to support trade," he wrote.

"America became the greatest nation in the world in part because we have excelled in transportation," LaHood said. "There can be no strong economy without moving people and goods safely and reliably from one place to another. Without transportation, there can be no exports, and without aviation our transportation system would literally be stuck on the ground. So, while we should take a moment to appreciate the safety of our skies, we cannot afford to pause too long. Now is the time to rebuild and strengthen our transportation infrastructure, and without a doubt that includes aviation."

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