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Project Sequencing Not Good for Sandpoint

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A Seat in the House

President Obama recently introduced his 447 billion dollar “American Jobs Act” aimed at putting more Americans back to work. Although it contains funding for infrastructure improvements, state aid, unemployment insurance extensions and other actions, Republicans are arguing that the plan should be “aimed at cutting red tape and stopping the excessive regulations that hamper job creation.”

I can relate to this argument because of an issue that we have in our area here. We have an aircraft parts manufacturing company located in Sandpoint that has invented and developed a modification on airplanes that increases the safety of the aircraft and at the same time reduces stress and increases the life of the aircraft. 

Unfortunately, because of a new certification process in use by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), it appears that the company will not be able to get their project reviewed by the Administration within a certain timeline to keep investors involved in their project. 

As a result, the company is considering moving their manufacturing operation across the border to Canada where the Canadian counterpart to our FAA can assure them of a certain timeline for consideration of their modification and possible certification to enable manufacturing and marketing of the product. This means the loss of a potential 300 aerospace jobs in our area; 300 high-paying jobs with benefits that would be a significant economic benefit to our area and the state!

Even more important, this process being used by the FAA is impacting the aerospace industry nationwide, especially smaller companies that receive less priority than bigger companies such as the Boeing Aircraft Company.

The process being used by FAA is known as “Project Sequencing.” I have been informed it limits the FAA employee from working on more than one project at a time and also changes priority ranking of submitted projects that deviate from the previous “first-in first-out” sequence. 

This sequence used previously by FAA was helpful in making sure that “FAA services were available to companies without prejudice” and that companies submitting projects were dealt with in “an even-handed and justifiable process.” 

Project sequencing is moving away from the first-in first-out treatment and creates uncertainty in how FAA resources will be used in responding to certification requests. This creates uncertainty in the process that impacts investment interest and results in a company running out of financial resources before it can get its product certified and in production. This is the problem our company is facing in Sandpoint and the necessity for them to consider moving to Canada where the certification process is more certain and more timely than our FAA process.

The following is a quote from a comment on the process by Eric Leaver, an aeronautical engineer who works for a company that builds parts and modifications for one class of aircraft:

“The sequencing system, as has been implemented since 2005, means that there is no certainty when the FAA’s Aircraft Certification Services will accept a project from an applicant. This means that it is virtually impossible to know when the applicant will have to allocate resources to a project... .The sequencing system introduces a variable that no company that is intending to make significant investments in a new project can tolerate. Moreover, it is impossible to find an investor interested in a project where there is no certainty when it will begin and where the company must make sizeable cash outflows while keeping resources idle.” 

I have discussed this system with an employee of the FAA who describes this process being used by the agency as: “It is institutionalized inefficiency. It is a complex process taking hours and hours of time to prove we don’t have the time to do the work!”

I appreciate the motive behind the American Jobs Act but based on this FAA example I believe there is merit in the argument that we should be doing more to save the jobs we have by taking aim at “cutting red tape and stopping the excessive regulations that hamper job creation.” Possibly we need a two-fold effort in the American Jobs Act that not only helps create new jobs, but also assists in retaining existing jobs by determining what regulations and processes are productive and what ones are not.

Thanks for reading and as always feel free to contact me with issues of importance to you. My mailing address is P.O. Box 112, Dover, Idaho 83825 and my home phone is (208) 265-0123.


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Author info

Rep. George Eskridge Rep. George Eskridge the Republican Representative for District 1 in Idaho’s House, George Eskridge can be reached at 208-265-0123 or write PO Box 112, Dover, ID 83825

Tagged as:

Quest Aircraft, A Seat in the House, project sequencing, Eric Leaver, FAA, American Jobs Act

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