Tag Archives: Jane Garvey

Babbitt’s star rising quickly: WSJ

Wall Street Journal travel columnist Andy Paztor had this to say about Randy Babbitt:

Randy Babbitt, an aviation consultant and former head of the country’s largest union representing airline pilots, is being vetted by the White House as the next likely administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, according to several people familiar with the discussions.

Mr. Babbitt’s emergence as the latest front runner follows weeks of talks among White House officials, labor leaders and lawmakers that had ended in a stalemate over earlier candidates.

Other names that emerged in connection with the administrator job included Robert T. Herbert, a longtime aide to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) and Duane Woerth, another former pilots’ union president.

But with Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood looking for an alternate choice, in recent days attention on Capitol Hill and among industry officials has focused on Babbitt. Specifically, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has started doing a background check and Obama Administration officials have alerted lawmakers about the likely choice. FAA officials declined to comment.

The developments, according people familiar with the matter, were partly prompted by the likely choice of former FAA chief Jane Garvey to get the No. 2 job at the Department of Transportation. Garvey reportedly sought out Babbitt to see if he would be interested in the FAA job.

The choice, if it goes through as anticipated, would satisfy labor leaders who have been urging appointment of someone to the FAA sympathetic to their views. Babbitt has labor connections going back to the labor-management struggles at Eastern Airlines before the carrier folded decades ago, he also is seen by many in the industry as more acceptable than Woerth.

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It’s official: Obama names transportation transition team

The office of the President-Elect confirmed yesterday what Fly NextGen first reported Wednesday morning: Former FAA Administrator Jane Garvey will be helping to lead Mr. Obama’s transition team on transportation issues. Other key members of the team:

  • Seth Harris is a member of the Obama-Biden Transition Project’s Agency Review Working Group responsible for the labor, education, and transportation agencies. He is a professor and the Director of Labor & Employment Law Programs at New York Law School.
  • Mortimer Downey is a self-employed transportation consultant who served for eight years as the Deputy Secretary of Transportation under President Clinton, and was an Assistant Secretary of Transportation during the Carter Administration.
  • Michael Huerta is Group President of ACS Transportation Solutions, a company that provides technology solutions for the transportation industry.

(Biographical elements are from the OPE transition website).

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Jane Garvey on NextGen: ‘We don’t know what our vision is.’

The AOPA brought together a group of veteran DC insiders for a panel discussion at their expo this past week (article with video link here): James Coyne (Air Transport Association), Steve Alterman (Cargo Airline Association), Jane Garvey, and Ken Mead. Facing an audience that certainly has its own skepticism about ADS-B, panelists took the opportunity to express their reservations about the NextGen project — at least in its current incarnation.

Jane Garvey, former FAA Administrator: “We don’t know what our vision is for NextGen. No one can define it, no one can really describe it, and no one can say how we’re going to get there over the next 3 to 5 years.”

Ken Mead, former DOT inspector general: “With all respect, NextGen is something that … there’s not much ‘there’ there. It is the functional equivalent of … it’s more of a slogan than anything else. A very clever slogan, I might say, because it has gotten a parade way out in front of it, and only now are people sitting back and saying: what is this thing, how much is it going cost, when is it going to be delivered, what are we going to do with our system for the next five years?

Mead went on to suggest that the new administration might be a source of clear-headed thinking on the issue.

I believe that the Obama administration will come in and identify three big priorities in aviation. One will be labor-management relations. The second will be defining NextGen, costing it out, and really doing the very clinical in-depth surgery on where NextGen is. It would be a very serious mistake if they just say: ‘Oh yeah, let’s go, let’s move out and deploy NextGen, no sweat.’ So that’s the prediction. And number three, of course, will be the financing of FAA.

Meanwhile, the Associated Press published an in-depth list of possible candidates for cabinet-level posts in the new administration. Among the options mentioned for Transportation Secretary: Mortimer Downey, Ed Rendell, and Jane Garvey. (Newsweek also likes Jim Oberstar, Tim Kaine, Kathleen Sebelius, and Valerie Jarrett.)

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