From the DOT press release:
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced that the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is proposing to rescind plans for slot auctions at New York-area airports. Under the proposal, the Department would halt plans announced last October to withdraw a number of slots from airlines operating at airports in the New York region and auction the slots to the highest bidder.
“We’re still serious about tackling aviation congestion in the New York region,” Secretary LaHood said in New York City in remarks to the Association for a Better New York. “I’ll be talking with airline, airport and consumer stakeholders, as well as elected officials, over the summer about the best ways to move forward.”
The plans for the auctions for slots at New York’s JFK and LaGuardia Airports and Newark Liberty International Airport were announced by the Department on Oct. 10, 2008. The auctions were proposed as part of a plan to reduce congestion and delays at the region’s airports, along with caps on the number of flights per hour at each of the airports. Due to litigation over the rule and a court-ordered stay, the auctions have not taken place.
From the Associated Press:
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Thursday he thinks the Obama administration will seek financial aid for airlines to pay for equipment onboard planes that will be needed to move to a satellite-based air traffic control system.
LaHood, speaking at a luncheon of the Aero Club of Washington, said he expects the White House to “rally some dollars” in response to a request from airline industry officials who met with the administration’s top economic adviser, Lawrence Summers.
“I could tell from just talking to Larry today that those of you who met with Larry Summers really made an impact on him,” LaHood told the audience of 700, which included many airline industry officials.
“I believe you are going to see some movement here on the part of the administration, on the part of Larry Summers and certainly from our point of view, to see if we can really rally some dollars and get some of these dollars that are necessary to get us to NextGen,” he said. [..]
The meeting with Summers … included James May, president and CEO of the Air Transport Association, which represents most large airlines, and officials from United and Southwest airlines, said an industry official who asked not to be named because he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly.
DOT Secretary Ray LaHood spoke to the AP and other media in Peoria this week, and talked a little of this, a little of that.
LaHood said it is too soon to say which projects will be funded. But he said the plan is to get money to states for roads and mass transit as soon as a bill is signed and states submit paperwork.
During the interview in Peoria, LaHood also said other priorities include replacing the nation’s outdated radar-based air traffic system.
The message to the state transportation secretaries will be: “We’re looking to make sure the money is spent correctly, by the book, no short cuts,” LaHood said.
Asked about his own reputation for favoring earmarks when he represented central Illinois as a Republican in the House, LaHood said that wasn’t relevant.
“What I tell people, I’m not an independent operator anymore,” he said. “I didn’t get elected to anything in November — the president did. And he’s made very clear: We’re not going to have earmarks.”