Key part of new air traffic system in trouble

By JOAN LOWY | June 16, 2011 | 6:43 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) — A government watchdog says a program essential to a new air traffic control system for the nation is over budget and behind schedule.

A report released Thursday by the Transportation Department's Office of Inspector General says a program to share information critical to making the new air traffic control system a success is about $105 million over budget and has been delayed two years.

The Federal Aviation Administration is in the midst of switching from an air traffic system based on World War II-era radar technology to one that uses GPS.

Key to that transition is a program to share information, including which airports are experiencing delays, weather reports, flight plans and security restrictions on where planes can fly. The report says the program isn't being managed well.