Americans rely on government research to ensure a safe environment, safe and wholesome food and medical products, and improved transportation safety. Hasty, poorly considered Congressional budget cuts gravely threaten research that helps provide Americans the protection they deserve.
o Air travel has been increasing at nearly 10% per year and is projected to increase by 60 % within the next five years, placing tremendous stress on an already overburdened air traffic management system. Within the next 20 years, the U.S. air traffic control system will have to accommodate over one billion passengers per year -- twice as many as today --- with serious implications for future air traffic safety and security. Yet the House reduced Federal Aviation Administration research by 57%, cutting virtually all funding for improved air traffic control automation, systems to prevent collisions on runways, surveillance, cabin safety, aircraft fire research, and improvements to airport security systems.
o Research aimed at improved highway signaling and speeding the response of ambulances and fire vehicles to highway accidents is cut in half. Programs searching for inexpensive ways to locate and fix deteriorating highways and bridges are also targeted for cuts.
o The President's budget strategy makes deep cuts in low priority programs to find funds for critical new research. The need for this research was underlined by a number of deaths and sicknesses last year. Republican budgets block this much-needed expansion of research programs in the Department of Agriculture and a 33% cut in EPA s operating programs will cripple EPA research designed to reduce health risks from toxic waste and air and water pollutants.
o Fire, severe storms, floods, and earthquakes remain threaten lives and result in more than $50 billion in property damage each year. The House proposed an 8% cut from the President's FY 96 request in National Weather Service modernization, which will delay improvements in weather forecasts and warnings that yield reductions in weather-related losses of life and property.