Did you know you pay a Passenger Facility Charge, or PFC, when you fly? Started in 1990, the program is designed to raise tax money for airport infrastructure projects, and are capped at $4.50 per PFC, with no more than two PFC's being charged for a one-way trip. Airports want higher rates, saying the payments aren't tracking with inflation. Airlines want lower rates, saying the fee inhibits air travel.
The Government Accountability Office, or GAO, Congress' watchdog arm, researched possible alternate methods to collect PFC's. Currently the fees are added onto the price of airline tickets. Investigators found three possible alternatives: have passengers pay the fee at kiosks or counters, have passengers pay online or have passengers pay with their smartphones.
However, the GAO noted that all three alternatives would create extra steps for travelers, and none would be as convienent as the current method of adding payments onto tickets.
Airplane crashes and accidents decreased between 1999 and 2011, and the Federal Aviation Administration has set a goal to reduce further incidents by ten percent by 2018.
However, setting a general goal may distract the FAA from focusing on the area that most needs improvement in safety: small airplanes, said investigators from the Government Accountability Office, Congress' watchdog arm.
The Federal Aviation Administration is attempting to implement its "NextGen" program for air traffic control in order to meet the increasing number of flights, but investigators are worried the agency isn't doing enough to entice airports to adopt the new system.
Plans to create an alternate way to train flight controllers could save the Federal Aviation Administration money, but could be offset by a number of other factors said the Government Accountability Office.
The proposed plan would shift initial courses in specialized training to 36 schools that partner with the FAA to provide basic air traffic curriculum. Currently, initial specialized training is completed at the FAA Academy, but after the shift only more advanced specialization classes would be taught there.
The Federal Aviation Administration isn't doing enough to reduce the number of collisions between wildlife and aircraft, said a report by the Transportation Department's Office of Inspector General.
The Wildlife Hazard Mitigation Program requires airports to take action to reduce the number of wildlife strikes, but the FAA's oversight of the program has been limited, according to the inspector general.
A database of wildlife strikes is incomplete, investigators said, because the FAA does not require airports to report all incidents involving wildlife.
Before setting off to explore the final frontier, the government should evaluate how private companies insure their rocket launches, according to a study by the Government Accountability Office.
The insurance of private space launches - usually of satellites - is covered by the Commercial Space Launch Act of 1988. The government can pay claims of third-parties, i.e. civilians, who might be hurt by space-related accidents. But its never had to because any incidents have been covered by private insurance.
Buses can help improve the economy and local communities are taking notice said a study by the Government Accountability Office.
The GAO evaluated 15 bus rapid transit, or BRT, projects in cities around the nation. They found that adding things like dedicated bus lanes and well-lit bus shelters not only attracted new riders, but made riders feel safer and cut down travel time by 10 to 35 percent.
Chrysler's two top-selling vehicles, the Ram pickup and the Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV, are under investigation by a government agency for safety problems.The rear wheels can lock up in Rams from the 2009 and 2010 model years, potentially causing crashes, while power steering fluid hoses can leak in 2012 Grand Cherokees, possibly causing engine fires, according to documents posted Monday on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website, the Associated Press reports.
The Transportation Security Administration is being scrutinized after pilot and murder suspect Brian Hedglin used a rug to scale a razor wire-topped security fence at a small Utah airport in the middle of night, slipping past security, boarding an idle, empty, 50-passenger SkyWest Airlines jet and revving up the engines, The Associated Press reports.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has launched a probe in 730,000 2001-2004 model Ford Escape SUVs regarding complaints about a throttle stick issue that allegedly caused crashes, USA Today reports.