Senators Collins, Reed Question DOT Secretary on 737-MAX Crashes, DOT Budget Request

At today’s Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee hearing

Click HERE to read Senator Collins’ opening statement.

Click HERE to read Senator Reed’s opening statement.

Click HERE to watch the hearing.


Washington, D.C. – In the wake of the recent crashes involving the Boeing 737-MAX, U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Jack Reed (D-RI), the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, held a hearing to review the fiscal year (FY) 2020 budget request for the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).  As the first hearing since the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crash and the grounding of the 737-MAX aircrafts by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Committee also questioned U.S. DOT Secretary Elaine Chao on the FAA’s relationship with Boeing and the government’s role in ensuring the safety of the traveling public.


“While the FAA continues to maintain the safest air traffic control system in the world, we are all too aware of the recent crashes of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 and Lion Air Flight 610.  Both crashes involved Boeing’s 737-MAX aircraft, and both crashed just minutes after take-off, in eerily similar circumstances,” said Senator Collins.  “I commend the Secretary for requesting the Inspector General to initiate an audit of FAA’s certification of the 737-MAX aircraft.  Senator Reed and I have sent a letter to the Inspector General asking that the results of this audit be shared with us.”


“I am pleased that the Administration has included funding for several critical infrastructure programs, including $1 billion for the popular BUILD grant program,” Senator Collins continued.  “Secretary Chao and I have personally seen the success of this program in communities, both rural and urban, and I look forward to our continued work together to ensure that these programs have the resources they need to enhance the safety and efficiency of our transportation network.” 


“We must make smart investments to improve the safety and efficiency of our transportation network, which is the backbone of our economy.  The last two T-HUD appropriations bills provide the foundation from which future transportation investments should grow.  We cannot backslide nor expect states and localities to shoulder more transportation infrastructure costs on their own,” said Senator Reed.  “We also need to take a closer look at FAA safety and our air traffic control system.  The fatal Lion and Ethiopian Airlines accidents have called into question FAA’s certification practices, pilot training requirements, and the integration of new technologies. These accidents require a careful analysis of their technical failures and a reassessment of the relationship between the FAA and those businesses it regulates.  Certainly, this should occur before the Department of Transportation goes any further to execute expanded certification authorities.”


Yesterday, Senators Collins and Reed sent a letter calling on the U.S. DOT Inspector General to audit the certification process for this aircraft.  Following the Senators’ push, the IG initiated their audit today.