Blog Editor’s Note: This item was written by RNTF President Dana A. Goward at the request of the editor at Inside GNSS. It recently appeared in the periodical’s March/April print edition. It includes some information that updates a blog post we did on the topic last month.


Thinking Allowed

Congress to DOT Secretary

Where is GPS Backup Demo?

In a letter dated March 7, Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon) chided Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao for slow progress on a mandate for a GPS Backup Technology Demonstration and asked for a status update.

“We are concerned that 14 months after the mandate … became law, and 11 months after Congress provided substantial funds… the administration has made little observable progress,” DeFazio said.

As chairman of the powerful House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, DeFazio arguably has the most influence over the department of any member of the House of Representatives. The letter was co-signed by congressmen Rick Larsen (D-Washington), chair of the Aviation Subcommittee, Sean Patrick Maloney (R-New York), chair of the Coast Guard and Marine Transportation subcommittee, and John Garamendi (D-California), chair of the Armed Services Readiness subcommittee.

DeFazio also observed in the letter that the government first formally recognized the need for a GPS backup in 2001. On August 29 of that year the Volpe Transportation System Center issued its final report, “Vulnerability of the Transportation Infrastructure Relying on the Global Positioning System.” Soon after the report was released the Federal Aviation Administration abandoned its plan to have aviation in the U.S. rely entirely on space-based navigation.

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