Reauthorization of the National Transportation Safety Board

Reauthorization of the
National Transportation Safety Board
Updated January 18, 2007
Bart Elias
Specialist in Aviation Safety, Security, and Technology
Resources, Science, and Industry Division

Reauthorization of the National Transportation Safety
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is a small, independent
agency with responsibility for investigating transportation accidents; conducting
transportation safety studies; issuing safety recommendations; aiding victim’s
families in aviation disasters; and promoting transportation safety. Near the
conclusion of the 109th Congress, a two-year NTSB reauthorization measure,
covering fiscal years 2007 and 2008, was enacted (P.L. 109-443).
During the 109th Congress, legislation to reauthorize the NTSB for fiscal years
2007-2009 was ordered reported in the House (H.R. 5076) seeking a three-year
funding reauthorization for FY2007 through FY2009, that included a 22% increase
to authorized funding levels in FY2008 compared to FY2007 requested levels,
largely to support a proposed staffing increase of about 19%. In contrast, the Senate
initially passed a two-year reauthorization bill (S. 3679) in September, 2006,
covering FY2007 and FY2008, that paralleled the administration’s FY2007 funding
request, but did not provide the increase sought in FY2008, instead proposing to
maintain staffing at current levels through FY2008. The NTSB indicated in
reauthorization hearing testimony that a staffing increase was needed to effectively
carry out its mission. P.L. 109-443 authorizes funding in FY2007 slightly above the
President’s requested appropriation level, and authorizes a 13.5% increase in the
authorized level in FY2008, compared to FY2007. Actual funding levels, however,
are dependent on amounts specified in appropriations legislation.
In addition to setting funding authorization levels, P.L. 109-443 extends and
expands provisions that relax certain contracting requirements for investigation-
related services; establishes various reimbursements to the NTSB as offsetting
collections that are available until expended; and authorizes reimbursable payment
from the NTSB for Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General (DOT
OIG) investigations and audits of the NTSB. The act also requires the Federal
Aviation Administration (FAA) to submit a report explaining why it has not
implemented NTSB’s most wanted aviation-related transportation safety
improvements, and charges the GAO with the responsibility of evaluating and
auditing NTSB programs, operations, and activities on an annual basis, or more
frequently if determined necessary. The act also directs the DOT OIG to conduct
oversight and investigations related to the Boston Central Artery Tunnel project.
While not formally addressed during reauthorization debate, two other
prominent issues involving the NTSB may come under congressional scrutiny:
concerns over industry stakeholders lobbying NTSB officials in attempts to influence
the scope or language of NTSB investigative findings, and the NTSB’s heavy
reliance on experts from transportation entities with a vested interest in the outcome
of an investigation for fact gathering and data analysis. Some experts argue that the
NTSB should instead create stronger ties with government laboratories and academic
institutions for expertise to lessen the chances that bias, or the perception of bias,
could creep into the accident-investigation process. This report will not be updated.

Background ......................................................1
NTSB History ................................................1
NTSB Organization............................................1
NTSB Mission................................................2
Accident Investigation......................................2
Other Related Functions....................................3
Safety Recommendations and Advocacy........................3
NTSB Funding Levels..........................................6
Current Issues for Reauthorization....................................8
NTSB Staffing Levels and Accident Coverage.......................8
The NTSB Academy..........................................10
Relief from Certain Contracting Requirements......................13
Reimbursements to the NTSB...................................13
Inspector General and Comptroller General Oversight of the NTSB.....14
Other Possible Issues for NTSB Reauthorization and Congressional
Overs i ght ...................................................15
Stakeholder Lobbying of NTSB Officials..........................15
Use of Impartial Outside Expertise on Investigation Teams............17
Other Transportation Safety Issues Addressed During NTSB
R eaut hori z at i on ..............................................18
Legislative Actions...............................................18
List of Tables
Table 1. Authorized, Appropriated, and Requested Funding Levels for the
National Transportation Safety Board.............................7

Reauthorization of the National
Transportation Safety Board
NTSB History
The NTSB was established in 1967 as part of the newly formed Department of
Transportation (DOT). In 1974, Congress passed the Independent Safety Board Act
of 1974 (in P.L. 93-633), making the NTSB completely separate from the DOT.
Doing so gave NTSB complete independence from DOT. As a fully independent
agency, the NTSB can carry out unbiased investigations and make recommendations
regarding safety regulations and oversight practices of DOT without the public
perception of conflicting interests associated with being a component of a regulatory
department whose policies and regulatory oversight might be brought into question
during the course of an investigation. Over the course of its 39-year history, the
NTSB has established a worldwide reputation as a model agency for investigating
accidents and identifying needed transportation safety improvements. Through the
issuance of safety recommendations and advocacy for transportation safety needs, the
NTSB has earned considerable respect from Congress and the traveling public for its
efforts in identifying needed transportation safety improvements and maintaining
public confidence in transportation safety.
NTSB Organization
The NTSB consists of a five-member board and a staff of approximately 400,
about half of whom are located at its Washington, DC, headquarters, with the rest
distributed among several regional offices throughout the United States. In the
current reauthorization cycle, the NTSB is seeking to increase its staff size to an
authorized level of 475 full-time equivalent employees beginning in FY2008. The
NTSB has indicated that this staffing increase is needed to fully carry out the NTSB’s
mission, which includes conducting investigations and safety studies and preparing
safety recommendations and safety advocacy materials for all modes of
transportation.1 While the initial House proposal included authorization for staffing
increases that match the NTSB’s request for an increase to 475 full-time equivalents
(FTEs) in FY2008 (See H.Rept. 109-512), the initial Senate-passed bill would have
maintained a staffing level of 399 FTEs in FY2008, which is consistent with the
FY2007 budget request. While the final enacted version of the National
Transportation Safety Board Reauthorization Act of 2006 (P.L. 109-443) did not

1 Testimony of Mark V. Rosenker, Acting Chairman, National Transportation Safety Board,
before the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Aviation, U.S.
House of Representatives, March 8, 2006.

establish an authorized FTE level, it did authorize a funding increase of roughly
13.5% in FY2008 compared to FY2007 authorized levels. Absent specific report
language directing how this additional funding authority is to be used, it is uncertain
if this would be used in whole or in part to fund additional positions. If the increased
funding authority were devoted exclusively for personnel compensation and benefits,
the number of authorized FTEs could be increased to about 450.
The five Safety Board members, presidentially appointed with the advice and
consent of the Senate, serve five-year terms and may continue to serve beyond their
term until a replacement board member is appointed. Not more than three Safety
Board members may be appointed from the same political party, and at least three
members must be appointed on the basis of technical qualifications, professional
standing, and knowledge of transportation safety issues.
One recent point of contention among board members is the appointment
process for board members’ personal staff. Under prior law, the NTSB chairman was
the final authority with regard to staffing, including the staffing of member offices.2
The National Transportation Safety Board Reauthorization Act of 2006 (P.L. 109-
443), however, gives individual board members full authority to appoint individuals
for personal staff positions, with the restriction that staff allocations be limited to a
full time equivalent level of one senior professional staff position and one
administrative staff position.
NTSB Mission
The NTSB core mission consists of investigating transportation accidents and,
based on investigative findings and focused studies of transportation safety concerns,
issuing safety recommendations and advocating for improvements in transportation
safety. Additionally the NTSB provides assistance to victims’ families in airline
disasters and serves as a board of appeals for certain transportation regulatory
Accident Investigation. The NTSB investigates the following
transportation-related accidents and safety issues:
!All accidents involving civil aircraft and public aircraft, other than
military or intelligence agency aircraft, within the United States and
its territories;
!Selected highway and railroad grade crossing accidents;
!Railroad accidents involving passenger trains, loss of life, or
significant property damage;
!Pipeline accidents involving significant property or environmental
damage, or loss of life;
!In coordination with the Coast Guard, major marine casualties
occurring on the navigable waters or territorial sea of the United
States, or involving U.S. flag vessels, except those involving only
public vessels; and

2 See 49 USC §1111(e).

!Other selected catastrophic accidents or recurring problems
involving transportation safety.
In accordance with international treaties, the NTSB also participates in
investigations of foreign aviation accidents involving any U.S. manufactured or
registered aircraft.3 On occasion, the NTSB may also lend its expertise in foreign
investigations at the request of another country, even though the United States may
have no vested interest nor any specific right under international agreement to
participate in the accident investigation process. In these instances, where NTSB is
asked to consult or actively participate in an overseas investigation, the NTSB is
sometimes reimbursed for associated costs. Historically, these reimbursements had
been deposited to the Treasury General Fund. However, during this reauthorization
cycle, the NTSB requested that this and other reimbursements to the NTSB be
specifically designated as offsetting collections for use by the NTSB. The National
Transportation Safety Board Reauthorization Act of 2006 (P.L. 109-443) included
a provision designating such receipts, whether in the form of fees or reimbursements,
as offsetting collections available until expended. Prior to this legislative change,
only reimbursements related to activities of the NTSB Academy, such as tuition
payments or classroom rental fees, were specifically credited as offsetting
col l ect i ons. 4
Other Related Functions. In addition to its core responsibility of
investigating transportation mishaps, the NTSB renders assistance to the families of
passengers involved in air carrier accidents, and handles appeals of certificate actions
by the FAA or the Coast Guard and certain appeals involving civil penalties from
FAA enforcement actions. The NTSB also maintains a database of civil aviation
accidents and conducts special studies of selected transportation safety issues.
Safety Recommendations and Advocacy. While the NTSB has no
authority to change transportation safety regulations and practices, its principal means
for effecting change in transportation safety is through the issuance of safety
recommendations to regulators, operators, and users of transportation systems. Since
investigations of complex accidents may take several years, the NTSB routinely
issues recommendations over the course of an investigation as needed safety
improvements are identified. The NTSB highlights its key safety recommendations
on a list of “Most Wanted” safety improvements that currently includes5:
!Reducing the dangers of in-flight icing;
!Eliminating flammable vapors in airliner fuel tanks;
!Preventing collisions and near-misses on airport runways (runway

3 See National Transportation Safety Board, About the NTSB: History and Mission.
Washington, DC: National Transportation Safety Board.
4 See 49 USC §1118(c).
5 National Transportation Safety Board, NTSB Most Wanted Transportation Safety
Improvements, 2007, Washington, DC: National Transportation Safety Board.

!Improving cockpit voice recorders and flight data recorders and
requiring cockpit video;
!Requiring crew resource management training for commuter and
charter flight pilots;
!Implementing positive train control systems for railroads;
!Enhancing recreational boating safety;
!Improving the safety of motor carrier operations;
!Preventing medically unqualified drivers from operating commercial
!Enhancing protection for school bus and motor coach occupants;
!Enhancing automobile seat-belt laws and enforcement;
!Eliminating risks posed by hard core drunk drivers;
!Improving school bus safety at railroad grade crossings; and
!Setting work hour limits and rest requirements that reflect current
scientific understanding of human fatigue for safety-critical
transportation workers in all transportation modes.
These “Most Wanted” transportation safety improvements typically encompass
multiple safety recommendations requesting action from the DOT and the states for
statutory and regulatory change to address these safety concerns.
While there is no statutory requirement to adopt NTSB-issued safety
recommendations, the NTSB’s ability to bring about transportation safety
enhancements is rooted in its long-standing reputation for thorough investigation and
assessment of needed safety improvements. However, there is not always universal
agreement that NTSB recommendations are needed. For example, the FAA has
opposed NTSB’s urging to require child restraints on airliners for children under two,
arguing that the increased cost of having to purchase tickets for these children could
cause some families to drive instead, which is arguably more dangerous than flying.6
Also, pilot unions have strongly opposed NTSB recommendations for cockpit video
recorders, arguing that video images would be of limited value and fearing that,
despite statutory protections, these videos could be misused if publicly disclosed or
used for other purposes. In other examples, some unfulfilled recommendations
proposed by the NTSB were not technically feasible at the time they were issued, and
several years of research and development have been devoted to addressing these
recommendations, even though the recommendations have not yet been satisfactorily
addressed. For example, following the crash of TWA flight 800 in 1996, the NTSB
recommended procedures and technologies to reduce fuel tank flammability and
explosive fuel/air mixtures in airline fuel tanks. While the NTSB has been
disappointed that interim operational measures to reduce fuel tank fires and
explosions have never been satisfactorily implemented by the airlines, the NTSB is
encouraged that, through extensive research and development, viable technologies
for reducing flammability and inerting fuel tanks now exist and will be required on
certain airliners under proposed regulatory changes to reduce fuel tank flammability.7

6 Federal Aviation Administration, “Child Restraint Systems: Advance Notice of Proposed
Rulemaking, Withdrawal.” Federal Register, 70(165), August 26, 2005, pp. 50226-50228.
7 National Transportation Safety Board, Most Wanted Transportation Safety Improvements,

However, despite the current progress toward addressing this longstanding safety
need, the NTSB would like to see the requirements more broadly applied to all
commercial airliners.
In general, NTSB’s safety recommendations and safety advocacy programs
have influenced the regulatory agenda of transportation agencies regarding safety
initiatives and have had a profound influence on Congressional decision-making and
oversight of transportation safety issues. Since 1967, the NTSB has issued over
12,000 safety recommendations across all modes of transportation, of which about
83% led to the implementation of acceptable safety improvements. Despite the
generally high level of acceptance of NTSB-issued safety recommendations, there is
lingering concern over the amount of time it can take to implement recommended
safety improvements. One significant factor contributing to the length of time it can
take to adopt NTSB safety recommendations is the process of assessing the
feasibility, cost, and benefits of adopting a recommendation and developing an
implementation plan which is left up to the recipient of a safety recommendation.
Since the last reauthorization in 2003, the NTSB has tried to improve this process by
working more closely and collaboratively with DOT agencies when drafting safety
recommendations to better ensure that these recommendations can be implemented
in a timely and acceptable manner. The NTSB refers to this initiative as SWAT for
“Safety With A Team.”8 However, this approach has been criticized by some as
having the potential effect of watering down the NTSB’s safety objectives. These
critics contend that by collaborating too closely with regulatory agencies and other
stakeholders, the NTSB may be swayed away from issuing or wording safety
recommendations that may be more difficult or challenging for regulators to address
and could bring the NTSB’s impartiality and independence into question. Striking
an appropriate balance between identifying needed safety improvements and
proposing recommendations that are operationally and technically achievable remains
an ongoing challenge for the NTSB. Policymakers may deliberate about how to best
structure interactions between the NTSB and recipients of NTSB recommendations
to facilitate the communication of the NTSB’s desired safety objectives and the
operational and technical limitations that may stand in the way of fully meeting these
The Senate NTSB reauthorization bill (S. 3679) included a provision that would
have required the NTSB to review the DOT’s annual report to Congress detailing its
responses to NTSB safety recommendations.9 Under this provision, the NTSB would
have been required to transmit comments on this report to the appropriate
congressional committees within 90 days after the report is submitted by the DOT.
Under existing statute, the DOT is to submit its report to Congress each year on

7 (...continued)
Federal Issues, Aviation: Eliminate Flammable Fuel/Air Vapors in Fuel Tanks on
Transport-Category Aircraft; Federal Aviation Administration, “Reduction of Fuel Tank
Flammability in Transport Category Airplanes; Proposed Rule,” Federal Register, 70(225),
November 23,2005, pp.70922 — 70962.
8 National Transportation Safety Board, “NTSB Celebrates One Year of SWAT Success,”
The Chairman’s Corner, August 27, 2004, p. 1.
9 See 49 USC §1135(d).

January 1. While this language was not included in the final enacted legislation, P.L.
109-443 did include a provision requiring the FAA to submit a report explaining why
it has not implemented aviation-related safety improvements identified in the
NTSB’s Most Wanted Transportation Safety Improvements list issued in 2006.
Also, the Senate reauthorization bill (S. 3679) included a provision that would
have required the NTSB to provide, as appropriate, recommendations and comments
to Congress regarding pending transportation safety legislation. While legislation
can serve as an appropriate means to implement NTSB safety recommendations that
may otherwise languish and other improvements to transportation safety, formally
involving the NTSB in the review and analysis of pending legislation may raise
concerns regarding the separation of powers between the executive and legislative
branches. The NTSB already actively participates in congressional oversight
regarding transportation safety issues, for example, by providing testimony to
Congress at safety oversight hearings and through more informal meetings with
Members of Congress and their staff. However, formally involving an executive
agency such as the NTSB in the legislative process and the work of Congress, even
on a limited basis, may introduce complications and potential challenges regarding
separation of powers and may raise concerns that the NTSB could be drawn into
partisan debates over transportation safety issues or pressured by stakeholders and
special interest groups. The enacted legislation (P.L. 109-443) did not include this
NTSB Funding Levels
Funding for the NTSB has historically consisted of: a base authorization or
appropriation amount; a set-aside emergency fund to cover unforeseen accident costs
such as wreckage recovery, salvage, and storage; and supplemental appropriations
to cover the costs of large, complex investigations such as the investigation of the
TWA flight 800 accident.
The National Transportation Safety Board Reauthorization Act of 2003 (P.L.
108-168), authorized base appropriations from FY2003 through FY2006 for the
NTSB. The annual authorization level was set at $73.325 million in FY2003, and
was increased at a rate of about 6% per year, reaching $87.539 million for FY2006
(see Table 1). In addition to these sums, P.L. 108-168 authorized additional funding
for operating the NTSB Academy from FY2003 through FY2008. However, these
additional funds for the academy were never appropriated. Instead, appropriations
language over the past two years has instructed the NTSB not to increase academy
funding or increase investigator details to the academy in a manner that may detract
from their primary investigation duties.
Since FY2003, appropriations for the NTSB have been slightly below
authorized levels. In FY2003, the NTSB received $72 million. In FY2004, the
NTSB received $73.5 million, plus an additional $600,000 to boost the balance of the
NTSB’s emergency fund back to $2 million. In FY2005, the NTSB received a base
appropriation of $76.7 million, less a rescission of $8 million in unobligated
supplemental appropriations intended to cover costs associated with the
investigations of EgyptAir flight 990 in 1999 and Alaska Air flight 261 in 2000, both
of which are now completed. Thus, the net appropriation for FY2005 was $68.7

million. In FY2006, the NTSB received $76.7 million, less a rescission of $1 million
from the same supplemental funding account to cover the EgyptAir flight 990 and
Alaska Air flight 261 investigations. After factoring in a government-wide 1%
rescission, the NTSB’s net appropriation for FY2006 was just under $75 million. In
testimony before both the House Aviation Subcommittee and the Senate
Subcommittee on Aviation, NTSB Chairman Mark Rosenker, then serving as Acting
Chairman, asserted that the agency’s FY2006 budget was unable to support the staff
size of 416 full-time equivalents with which the NTSB began the year.10 The NTSB
responded accordingly by reducing staff through attrition to a current level of 396
full-time equivalents.
Table 1. Authorized, Appropriated, and Requested Funding
Levels for the National Transportation Safety Board
(FY2003 - FY2009, $ in millions)
Fiscal Year2003200420052006200720082009
P.L. 108-168
- Base73798388
- Academy3555
House-proposed (H.R.8299105


Senate-passed (S. 3679)8084
P.L. 109-4438293
Appropri at i o ns 72 74 69 75
Administration Requests7071667680100105
FTEs — — 416396399475475
Note: Amounts above are after rescissions to base and supplemental funding levels.
Amounts do not include the NTSB’s emergency fund currently authorized at a level not to
exceed $4 million and appropriated at a level of $2 million. Full-time equivalent ( FTE)
employee levels for 2007-2009 reflect administration requested staffing levels. See text.
The administration proposed an authorization and appropriation of $80 million
for FY2007, $4 million above FY2006 enacted levels, to cover salary and cost
increases. In FY2008, the administration proposed a funding authorization of $100
million, 22% above the FY2007 requested amount. This increase would be used to
hire about 75 additional investigators and support staff, a staffing increase that the
NTSB believes is necessary to adequately perform its mission. For FY2009, the

10 Testimony of Mark V. Rosenker, Acting Chairman, National Transportation Safety Board,
before the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Aviation, U.S.
House of Representatives, March 8, 2006. Testimony of Mark V. Rosenker, Acting
Chairman, National Transportation Safety Board, before the Committee on Commerce,
Science and Transportation, Subcommittee on Aviation, U.S. Senate, May 24, 2006.

administration has requested an authorization of $105 million to sustain this
increased staffing level and cover anticipated salary and cost increases. H.R. 5076,
as initially reported (see “House-proposed” in Table 1), roughly paralleled the
administration request, proposing a slightly higher authorized amount in FY2007, $1
million less than the administration projection for FY2008, and an amount equal to
the administration’s projection for FY2009. In contrast, the Senate (S. 3679) initially
passed a two-year authorization that would have matched the requested funding level
in FY2007, but did not include the increased funding sought in FY2008. The enacted
NTSB reauthorization legislation (P.L. 109-443) provides a two-year reauthorization,
authorizing $82 million in FY2007, and $93 million in FY2008. In addition to these
authorized amounts, existing statute provides for the continued maintenance of $2
million in the NTSB’s emergency fund, and authorizes additional funding to increase
the balance of the emergency fund up to the authorized limit of $4 million.
Current Issues for Reauthorization
Several issues were identified during the current debate over NTSB
reauthorization The central issue during this reauthorization cycle was the adequacy
of the NTSB’s staff size. The NTSB requested a staff increase of roughly 22%
starting in FY2008, an increase it believes is necessary to adequately carry out its
mission. Other issues considered during the NTSB reauthorization process included
the mission, operations, and funding of the NTSB Academy; relief from certain
contracting requirements for investigation-related services; the designation of various
reimbursements to the NTSB as offsetting collections; and payment for Department
of Transportation Inspector General investigations and audits of the NTSB.
NTSB Staffing Levels and Accident Coverage
The Washington Post reported that in 2005, by NTSB’s own estimates, its field
investigators deployed to only 62% of all fatal airplane crashes in the United States,11
compared to 75% in 2001. The trend has alarmed some aviation safety experts who
contend that the NTSB could miss opportunities to improve safety or identify a
critical safety concern before it leads to more mishaps. The NTSB, on the other
hand, asserts that its near-term strategy has been to target the deployment of its field
investigators to focus on crashes where new safety issues are likely to present
themselves. However, without on-scene involvement this is often difficult to assess,
particularly in the early stages of an investigation. Therefore, it appears that the
NTSB’s long-term strategy is to request funding for additional investigative staff
beginning in FY2008. This request for additional funding to hire new investigators
and support staff was a central issue in the current reauthorization debate.
Analysis by the GAO indicates that both the number of NTSB on-site field
investigations of aviation accidents and investigations where only an FAA-inspector

11 Sara Kehaulani Goo, “NTSB Goes to Fewer Crashes; Backlogged Investigators Pass on
Small-Plane Accident Sites,” The Washington Post, February 8, 2006, p. A17 (Corrected
February 24, 2006).

was sent to the crash site have been declining since 2002.12 However, the number
of “data collection accidents,” where investigators do not perform on-scene
functions, has been steadily increasing. In 2002, the NTSB sent investigators to 322
aviation field accidents compared to 219 in 2005. Also, the number of “limited”
investigations, where on-scene functions are delegated to FAA inspectors, has
declined by about half in the past three years, from 1,461 in 2002 to 762 in 2005.
During that same period, the number of “data collection” investigations — where
most or all of the investigation process is completed in the office through telephone
interviews and data gathering — has increased by a factor of almost five, from 159
in 2002 to 783 in 2005. While this trend may, in part, be due to a reduction in the
severity of aviation accidents, it is also likely the result of NTSB’s changing strategy
to manage its limited investigator resources and clear a large backlog of uncompleted
investigations. In 2001, the NTSB’s backlog of cases more than six months old was
2,400.13 This backlog was reduced down to 944 cases in early 2006, but one apparent
consequence is that investigators have been spending more time in the office
completing old cases and less time in the field doing on-site investigation.
While the most critical need for investigators appears to be for general field
investigators that handle the bulk of NTSB’s case load of aviation investigations
involving smaller aircraft, expertise in certain speciality fields may also need to be
expanded to address the growing complexity of major transportation disasters. For
example, the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), the largest union representing
airline pilots in the United States, has been critical of what they consider a lack of in-
depth investigation by the NTSB delving into human factors aspects of airline
crashes. A union representative stated that the NTSB tended to overlook human
factors either for the sake of expediency or due to budget pressures.14 While human
factors causes play a role in the majority of aviation accidents, workload and staffing
levels may limit the involvement of NTSB’s human factors experts in exploring the
root causes of these accidents, such as training, policies, and procedures. Besides
human factors, the NTSB also faces potential staffing needs in other highly
specialized areas such as airline operations, air traffic control, aircraft structures and
systems, and maritime operations. Because these disciplines are highly specialized,
it takes considerable effort to recruit qualified individuals and train them to apply
their knowledge and expertise to accident investigation. Staff attrition in these highly
specialized disciplines could increase the NTSB’s reliance on outside expertise and
have an impact not only on the ability of the NTSB to fully investigate transportation
accidents, but also on the quality of the NTSB’s investigation and analysis.
Policymakers may consider options to enhance the NTSB’s ability to recruit and
retain field investigators and specialists in a variety of critical science and

12 U.S. Government Accountability Office, National Transportation Safety Board:
Preliminary Observations on the Value of Comprehensive Planning and Greater Use of
Leading Preactices and the Training Academy, Statement of Gerald L. Dillingham, Director,
Physical Infrastructure Issues, Testimony Before the Subcommittee on Aviation, Committee
on Commerce, Science and Transportation, U.S. Senate, May 24, 2006, GAO-06-801T.
13 Sara Kehaulani Goo, “NTSB Goes to Fewer Crashes/”
14 Andy Pasztor, “WSJ: Pilots Group Criticizes National Transportation Safety Board,” Dow
Jones Newswires, October 17, 2005.

engineering fields as well as professionals with unique operational experience in
various transportation modes.
While the House bill (H.R. 5076) would have provided almost full funding to
support the administration’s request for increasing NTSB staffing levels by about
19% to address these concerns, the Senate bill (S. 3679) did not include funding for
increasing NTSB staff levels. The Senate bill (S. 3679) did, however, include a
provision that would have required the NTSB to include in its annual report lists of
and explanations for: transportation accidents that the NTSB was statutorily
mandated to investigate but did not; and any ongoing investigations that had
exceeded the expected time allotted for their completion. Such information may
provide better insight into whether, and to what extent, NTSB staffing levels are
impacting its ability to meet statutory obligations for investigating transportation
accidents and to carry out these obligations in a timely fashion. Such data may also
provide a better sense of what transportation modes and specific areas of expertise
may need additional staffing for the NTSB to effectively carry out its mission. The
NTSB Reauthorization Act of 2006 (P.L. 109-443) authorizes a funding increase of
roughly 13.5% in FY2008 compared to FY2007 authorized levels. While the act did
not specify how this additional funding authority is to be allocated, CRS estimates
that, if such funds are appropriated in FY2008 and allocated exclusively for
increasing staffing levels, the NTSB may be able to increase its FTE level to about

450 in FY2008.

The NTSB Reauthorization Act of 2006 (P.L. 109-443) also included a
provision, adopted from the Senate bill (S. 3679), that requires the NTSB to maintain
at least one full-time employee in every state located more than 1,000 miles from the
nearest NTSB regional office, to provide initial investigative response to accidents
across all modes of transportation. This measure would most directly impact the
state of Hawaii, where the NTSB does not have a field office or any staff. Currently,
investigations of accidents in Hawaii are typically run out of the NTSB’s Gardena,
California field office. Air safety in Hawaii has particularly been a continuing issue
of interest because of the importance of aviation for inter-island transportation and
a large air tour industry in the state.
The NTSB Academy
The National Transportation Safety Board Amendments Act of 2000 (P.L. 106-
424) gave NTSB the authority to enter into agreements for facilities, technical
services, and training in accident investigation theory and practice. In 2000, NTSB
awarded a 20-year contract for a training site to the George Washington University
(GWU). Construction on the NTSB Academy, located on the Loudon County
Campus of GWU in Ashburn, Virginia, was completed in August 2003.
In addition to assessing the funding needed to sustain the operations of the
NTSB Academy, a key issue for Congress has been whether to fund the NTSB
Academy as a separate entity or a component of the overall NTSB budget. Funding
the NTSB Academy within the overall NTSB budget would give NTSB greater
flexibility to fund Academy activities based on internal training requirements and
external demand for training. However, doing so may place an additional burden on
the NTSB’s ability to carry out its investigative, research, and safety advocacy

functions if operating costs for the Academy exceed projections or external demand
for the NTSB Academy is less than projected. In addition to providing a separate
funding authorization for the NTSB Academy on top of NTSB base authorization
levels, P.L. 108-168 allows the NTSB to impose and collect fees for services
provided by or through the Academy which may be credited as offsetting collections
that remain available until expended. In the current reauthorization debate, the
NTSB has proposed that funding authorization for the NTSB Academy be made part
of the broader agency authorization, rather than a distinct entity. The NTSB asserts
that a single authorization amount is more consistent with its objective of integrating
the academy operations into the overall mission and program for the agency. This
would also be in line with appropriations actions over the past three fiscal years that
have not identified separate funding levels for the academy. Unlike P.L. 108-168,
H.R. 5076 goes along with this request and does not specify any separate or
additional funding levels for the academy. Also, as requested, the bill would strike
a statutory provision for separate reporting to Congress on NTSB Academy
operations. The NTSB has proposed that this reporting be consolidated with the
NTSB’s annual report to Congress on its overall operations. The Senate bill (S.

3679), likewise combines academy funding with the broader agency budget.

While the NTSB seeks to better integrate the operations of the academy with the
overall role of the agency, GAO analysis of academy operations suggests that
significant progress is still needed to accomplish this objective. Despite the creation
of the academy three years ago, the GAO found the “NTSB has not developed a
strategic training plan, nor has it identified the core competencies needed to support
its mission and a curriculum to develop these competencies.”15 The GAO also found
that the NTSB Academy facility is significantly underutilized, in part because the
NTSB lacks a core curriculum for its own staff. In fact, for FY2006, 97% of NTSB
staff training is expected to come from training vendors other than the NTSB
Academy. GAO estimated that available classroom space was utilized less than 10%
of the time they were available during FY2005. Moreover, in FY2004 and FY2005,
NTSB staff made up less than 20% of the total enrollment in classes offered at the
NTSB Academy. However, despite having an enrollment of about 80% fee-paying
external students and having the option to rent out classroom space when it is not in
use, revenues generated from these sources have covered only about 8% of the
academy’s total operating expenses, including lease of the facility itself under the
terms of a long-term lease agreement with the George Washington University.
Excluding the cost of the lease, reimbursements still only covered about 15% of
NTSB’s other costs to run the facility and offer instruction, even though the NTSB
does not figure in instructor salaries for NTSB personnel assigned to teach classes at
the academy. In response to these findings, policymakers may seek to improve
NTSB’s approach to staff training and its initiatives to generate additional revenue
through course offerings, symposia, and other training opportunities offered through
the NTSB Academy.

15 U.S. Government Accountability Office, National Transportation Safety Board:
Preliminary Observations on the Value of Comprehensive Planning and Greater Use of
Leading Practices and the Training Academy, Statement of Gerald L. Dillingham, Director,
Physical Infrastructure Issues Before the Subcommittee on Aviation, Committee on
Commerce, Science, and Transportation, U.S. Senate, May 24, 2006, GAO-06-801T, p. 11.

The NTSB has indicated that, in 2006, it significantly revised the philosophy for
the Academy and is focusing on developing “state-of-the-art training courses and
programs.”16 However, examination of the available course offerings and current
academy operations suggest, on the contrary, that the academy is largely maintaining
a status quo with regard to its operations and approach to training. Because the
NTSB Academy has been operational for only a few years, opportunities exist for
refining and expanding its structure and course offerings. The NTSB indicated that
it plans to establish a training and academic oversight board for the academy. The
oversight board will consist of senior NTSB staff and will work closely with other
government training facilities to “benefit from their experience and best practices.”17
Congressional oversight may seek to more thoroughly examine the NTSB’s planning
and execution of efforts to improve and expand the curriculum of the NTSB
The Senate bill (S. 3679) included language that would have required the NTSB
to develop a plan to make the NTSB Academy self-sufficient. The bill proposed that
a draft of the plan is to be submitted for committee and GAO review and comments
within 90 days after enactment, and a final plan, addressing comments received on
the draft, would be required 90 days thereafter. The bill would have required the plan
to be fully implemented within two years. Language in the bill would have directed
the NTSB to consider subleasing of the academy facility for generating revenue and
would have required that the plan include a fiscal projection of its impact on academy
expenses and revenue. However, a subsequent GAO study of NTSB Academy
finances and business practices concluded that “... [the] NTSB may have difficulty
increasing revenues or decreasing external training costs enough to ever fully offset
the training center’s costs.”18 Also, the GAO report noted that the NTSB has been
in violation of the Anti-Deficiency Act because it negotiated the lease on the NTSB
Academy facility as an operating lease instead of a capital lease, and did not obtain
budget authority for the full term of the 20-year lease. Language to remedy this
situation was not included in the NTSB reauthorization legislation. Possible
remedies identified by the GAO include obtaining a deficiency appropriation for the
full amount of the lease, renegotiating the lease contract, terminating the lease, or
obtaining authority to obligate lease payments on an annual basis. GAO concluded
that vacating the space may be the most cost-effective strategy; however the potential
benefits derived from this facility were not fully considered in the GAO’s analysis.
Because the reauthorization legislation did not address the issue of the NTSB
Academy management practices, weighing the costs and benefits of maintaining the
training center remains a specific issue for congressional oversight and possible
legislation during the 110th Congress.

16 Testimony of Mark V. Rosenker, Acting Chairman, National Transportation Safety Board,
before the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Aviation, U.S.
House of Representatives, March 8, 2006, p. 5
17 Ibid.
18 U.S. Government Accountability Office, National Transportation Safety Board: Progress
Made, Yet Management Practices, Investigation Priorities, and Training Center Use Should
Be Improved, November 2006, GAO-07-118, p.

Relief from Certain Contracting Requirements
The extensive and often lengthy processes involved in federal procurement are
often not amenable to transportation accident investigations where obtaining unique
services, such as wreckage recovery, must be completed in a timely manner. Often,
only one source or a very small number of vendors possess the unique capabilities
needed by the NTSB. The NTSB has the authority to enter into agreements and other
transactions necessary to carry out its mission without going through normal
procurement procedures required of contracts in excess of $25,000. However, the
NTSB has been criticized in the past regarding its financial management and
oversight. At issue is striking a balance between providing flexibility to complete
needed investigative tasks in a timely and efficient manner while providing sufficient
financial management controls and oversight to minimize the risk of fraud, waste,
and abuse. P.L. 108-168 clarifies the NTSB’s authority regarding exemption from
contracting requirements to be used only if necessary to expedite an investigation,
and requires the NTSB to list all such contracts over $25,000 in its annual report to
Congress. However, this provision expired at the end of FY2006. The NTSB
requested that the sunset clause of this provision be deleted and the NTSB’s special
contracting authority for investigation-related services be made permanent.19
The NTSB Reauthorization Act of 2006 (P.L. 109-443) strikes the sunset clause
of the NTSB’s special contracting authority as requested, and requires reporting on
contracts awarded under this special authority to be identified in the NTSB’s annual
report to Congress each year.
Reimbursements to the NTSB
As previously mentioned, the NTSB participates in some foreign accident
investigations where it is not representing a particular United States interest in the
process or outcome of the investigation, but rather lends its technical expertise and
experience to the investigation. In some cases, the NTSB is reimbursed for the
personnel, travel, and other expenses it incurs while participating in these accident
investigations, but these receipts are currently not credited as offsetting collections.
Similarly, airlines are required to pay the costs of disaster mortuary services for
airline disasters. However, the NTSB often pays for these costs up front to ensure
the immediate delivery of these services and later seeks reimbursement from those
responsible for payment. In the past, these reimbursements were not specifically
credited as offsetting collections. Under the statutes existing prior to the enactment
of the NTSB Reauthorization Act of 2006 (P.L. 109-443), the only reimbursements
to the NTSB that were specifically credited as offsetting collections were those items
related to the NTSB Academy, such as tuition payments for courses and fees for20
facility rentals. Because other reimbursements that were not specifically credited
to NTSB funding lines, the NTSB expressed concern that it could face a funding
shortfall if it is necessary to expend any sizable amount of agency funds on
reimbursable items that are not directly offset by reimbursements received by the

19 Ibid.
20 See 49 USC §1118(c).

Treasury. Therefore, the NTSB requested that all such reimbursable items be
credited as offsetting collections to the NTSB funding line. The NTSB
Reauthorization Act of 2006 (P.L. 109-443) included language that authorizes the
NTSB to collect fees, refunds, and reimbursements as it determines appropriate for
any services it provides, either directly or indirectly.
Inspector General and Comptroller General Oversight of the
While the NTSB is an independent agency completely separate from the DOT,
the DOT Office of Inspector General was given limited authority to audit and review
NTSB functions in the 2000 NTSB reauthorization act (P.L. 106-424; 49 USC §
1137). This provision addressed concerns over identified fraud and inefficiencies in
the NTSB’s financial management office in the 1990s that went unchecked for some
time, in part because there was no entity to oversee and audit these operations. The
law gives the DOT Office of Inspector General limited oversight of the NTSB’s
financial management, property management, and business operations, but does not
give the Inspector General authority to review the NTSB’s investigative functions or
safety recommendations process.
The statutory authority specified that the Inspector General shall be reimbursed
by the NTSB for any costs associated with audits or reviews of the NTSB. This,
however, posed potential problems by creating a possible conflict of interest, or at
least a perception of a possible conflict of interest. Also, because Inspector General
audits are not specifically budgeted for, related costs could impact the NTSB’s
resources to carry out its core mission to investigate accidents and promote
transportation safety. Therefore, the NTSB requested that this statutory language be
repealed and the DOT Office of Inspector General be directly appropriated funds for
its activities related to NTSB oversight.21 The DOT Office of Inspector General
concurred with this recommendation.
The NTSB Reauthorization Act of 2006 (P.L. 109-443) authorizes such sums
as may be necessary for the DOT Office of Inspector General’s costs associated with
investigations and audits of the NTSB. The provision, however, also includes a
proviso stating that, in the absence of a specific appropriation for this purpose, the
NTSB and the DOT Office of Inspector General shall establish a reimbursable
agreement to cover such expenses.
The NTSB Reauthorization Act of 2006 (P.L. 109-443) also requires that the
GAO evaluate and audit the programs and expenditures of the NTSB on at least an
annual basis, or more frequently if determined necessary by the Comptroller General.
The GAO is required to evaluate and audit the NTSB’s information management and
security; resource management; workforce development efforts; procurement and
contracting planning, practices, and policies; the extent to which the NTSB follows
leading practices in management; and the extent to which the NTSB addresses

21 Testimony of Mark V. Rosenker, Acting Chairman, National Transportation Safety Board,
before the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Aviation, U.S.
House of Representatives, March 8, 2006.

management challenges in completing accident investigations. The provision
language also allows for the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
and/or the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation to carry out
such audits and evaluations in lieu of or in addition to GAO-led audits, as deemed
Other Possible Issues for NTSB Reauthorization
and Congressional Oversight
Besides the issues specifically identified during the NTSB reauthorization
debate, two other prominent, and related, issues involving the NTSB may come
under congressional scrutiny. First, some have expressed concerns over possible
industry stakeholder lobbying of NTSB officials in attempts to influence the scope
or language of NTSB investigative findings.22 Second, concerns have also been raised
about the NTSB’s heavy reliance on experts from transportation entities with a vested
interest in the outcome of an investigation, such as airlines and aircraft
manufacturers, for fact gathering and data analysis. Some experts argue that the
NTSB should instead create stronger ties with government laboratories and academic
institutions for expertise to lessen the chances that bias, or the perception of bias,
could creep into the accident investigation process.23 These issues were not
specifically addressed in reauthorization legislation.
Stakeholder Lobbying of NTSB Officials
One ongoing concern is the degree to which entities with a vested interest in the
outcome of an investigation may be able to influence NTSB board members. This
is an important consideration because under the NTSB party system of conducting
investigations, entities with vested interests in an investigation are made a part of the
investigation team and work closely with NTSB staff and officials to provide
technical knowledge and experience.24
However, the potential exists for entities to cross a fuzzy line between providing
technical knowledge and expertise and attempting to gain or exert influence in the
NTSB investigative process and decisions about what findings, conclusions, and
causal factors will be highlighted in the board’s final report on an investigation.
Former chairman Ellen Engelman Conners claimed that during the investigation of
the crash of American Airlines flight 587, board members came under intense
pressure from both the airline and the aircraft manufacturer, Airbus, in an effort to

22 See, Sara Kehaulani Goo, “Safety Agency’s Chief Is Wary of Lobbying,” The Washington
Post, January 6, 2005, p. A6.
23 Cynthia C. Lebow, Liam P. Sarsfield, William L. Stanley, Emile Ettedgui, and Garth
Henning, Safety in the Skies: Personnel and Parties in NTSB Aviation Accident
Investigations, 2000, RAND Corporation, Institute for Civil Justice: Santa Monica, CA, p.
24 See 49 CFR §831.11.

sway the NTSB’s conclusions and language in the final report.25 Conners
maintained that lobbying efforts have not yet influenced the outcome of an
investigation, but these tactics have delayed the investigation process.26 It is notable,
however, that in the American Airlines flight 587 investigation, the Safety Board, in
a split decision, voted to change the order of causal factors recommended by the
NTSB staff, a move that placed a greater emphasis on the design characteristics of
the aircraft’s rudder control system and de-emphasized the role that American
Airline’s pilot training played in the accident. Two board members at the time,
issued a joint dissenting statement asserting that “[t]o diminish the role of the
[training] in the accident is to downplay the role it played in the pilot’s actions which
caused the accident.”27 The counter-argument for reversing the order was to
emphasize the design problems with the rudder system which more closely paralleled
the new recommendations issued by the NTSB in its final report. Recommendations
pertaining to pilot training had previously been issued by the NTSB during the course
of the investigation. The dissenting members believed that the statement of probable
cause should accurately reflect the findings of the investigation and not be flavored
to emphasize the importance of any particular recommendations being put forth.
While the motives behind such a change in emphasis to a probable cause statement
could arguably be justified based on more closely aligning the wording of the
probable cause to the NTSB’s agenda for advocating recommended safety changes
based on investigative findings, in this case, the potential public perception that the
adopted probable cause language may have, in part, been influenced by lobbying
efforts by a party to the investigation could bring the board members’ motives into
question. A pattern of actions of this sort could potentially lead to a loss of public
trust in the NTSB and the party process of investigating accidents.
A variety of safeguards already exist to prevent external entities from
influencing NTSB findings and conclusions. First, under the “Sunshine Act”,28 the
Safety Board as a whole must meet in public on most matters pertaining to accident
investigations, which would increase the transparency of any attempt by a board
member or members to sway an investigation. Also, while interested parties may
provide technical expertise in the fact finding phase of an investigation, analysis of
these facts is done strictly by the NTSB staff of investigators. The investigative
process is designed to provide each party an opportunity to provide the NTSB with
its perspectives and concerns. Parties are free to submit their own analyses and
exchange information and ideas with NTSB investigators. Also, formal procedures
exist for parties to petition the NTSB to reconsider or modify its investigative

25 Matthew L. Wald, “Agency Official Says Lobbying Hindered Airline Crash Inquiry.” The
New York Times, January 6, 2005; Sara Kehaulani Goo, “Safety Agency’s Chief Is Wary of
Lobbying,” The Washington Post, January 6, 2005, p. A6.
26 Ibid.
27 Member Carol J. Carmody’s Statement, in which Member Richard F. Healing joined. In
National Transportation Safety Board, In-Flight Separation of Vertical Stabilizer, American
Airlines Flight 587, Airbus Industrie A300-605R, N14053, Belle Harbor, New York,
November 12, 2001, NTSB/AAR-04/04, p. 165.
28 Under the “Sunshine Act” or “Government in the Sunshine Act”, 5 USC §552b, entities
like the Safety Board must deliberate in open, public meetings, when conducting certain
agency business, such as reviewing and adopting the findings of an accident investigation.

findings after an investigation has been completed and the final report has been
adopted.29 Nonetheless, in a highly complex and contentious accident, evaluating
competing perspectives brought forth by various parties to the investigation can
prove challenging for the NTSB and can stretch out the length of time needed to
complete an investigation. Also, despite these procedures, the potential for parties to
exert their influence on the NTSB process still exists, and could have a negative
impact on the effectiveness of the NTSB. Even if the NTSB was not swayed by such
efforts to influence an investigation, a public perception that the NTSB was not fully
impartial could diminish the agency’s reputation and credibility. Striking a balance
between allowing involved parties to provide unique data and technical analysis that
often they alone possess while preventing these entities from subtly or overtly
attempting to sway the investigative process in their favor or exert influence and
pressure on board members is likely to be a sizable challenge. Policymakers may
consider limitations or more formal rules for the interaction between investigative
parties and the NTSB, although this issue has not been specifically addressed during
the current reauthorization process.
Use of Impartial Outside Expertise on Investigation Teams
A lingering concern, closely tied to possible stakeholder lobbying of NTSB
officials, is the NTSB’s extensive reliance on entities with a stake in the
investigation, such as airlines and aircraft manufacturers, for technical expertise.
This reliance on subject matter experts from those entities that may be under
investigation leaves open the possibility that NTSB could receive biased analysis of
technical data and potentially puts the NTSB in the position of evaluating competing
hypotheses and analysis of technical data provided by parties that approach the
accident from a particular perspective with particular interests to protect.
In 2000, the RAND Corporation Institute for Civil Justice reviewed the NTSB’s
aviation investigation practices and found that “[c]oncern about the party process has
grown as the potential losses resulting from a major crash, in terms of both liability
and corporate reputation, have escalated, along with the importance of NTSB
findings to the litigation of air crash cases.”30 The report strongly recommended that
the NTSB develop policies and procedures for making greater use of outside experts
from more impartial sources such as government laboratories and academia to
participate in and contribute to the investigative process. The report also
recommended that the NTSB’s internal resources be enhanced through better training
and strategic staffing if the agency’s independence is to be assured. The report
proposed a model in which private consultants and academics be made an integral
part of the party process, instead of having peripheral roles of support and analysis
of elements of the investigation. As a first step, RAND suggested that the NTSB
perform a nationwide assessment of federal laboratories, universities, and
independent corporations to identify the resources and expertise to augment NTSB
investigative capabilities, and form memoranda of understanding (MOUs) and other
formal relationships with these entities. While the NTSB has entered into formal

29 See 49 CFR §845.41.
30 Cynthia C. Lebow, et al., Safety in the Skies.

MOUs with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and has
a close working relationship with several Department of Defense (DoD) laboratories,
these entities largely continue to play a support role in investigations and are not an
integral part of the party process. While subject matter experts from academia are
routinely consulted and sometimes asked to provide analysis of technical data and
facts regarding an accident, these experts also do not participate in the investigation
to the same degree of involvement as parties to the investigation such as aircraft
manufacturers, airlines, and pilot unions. Policymakers may consider whether
changes to the NTSB party process, such as allowing outside experts to play a more
integral role in investigations, could improve the NTSB investigative process. This
issue has not been formally addressed by Congress in the current reauthorization
Other Transportation Safety Issues Addressed
During NTSB Reauthorization
The NTSB Reauthorization Act of 2006 (P.L. 109-443) also served as a vehicle
for enacting other transportation-safety related legislation outside the jurisdiction of
the NTSB. These include a mandate for the FAA to complete a safety review
examining runway safety area alternatives at Juneau International Airport, Juneau,
Alaska; a provision directing the DOT Inspector General, in cooperation with the
Department of Justice and the Attorney General of Massachusetts, to conduct
investigations of criminal and fraudulent activities related to the construction of the
Boston Central Artery Tunnel project; a provision directing the DOT Inspector
General to provide oversight to the project-wide safety review of the Boston Central
Artery Tunnel that was initiated in response to the July 10, 2006 collapse of a section
of the tunnel’s roof resulting in a fatality to a motor vehicle occupant; and a provision
requiring the DOT Inspector General to provide periodic reports to Congress
regarding the findings of its oversight, audits, and investigations of the Boston
Central Artery Tunnel project.
Legislative Actions
On March 8, 2006, the House Aviation Subcommittee held a hearing on NTSB
reauthorization. The National Transportation Safety Board Amendments Act of 2006
(H.R. 5076) was introduced in the House by Representative Don Young on April 4,
2006, and ordered reported by voice vote of the Committee on Transportation and
Infrastructure on April 5, 2006. The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and
Transportation, Subcommittee on Aviation held a hearing on NTSB reauthorization
on May 25, 2006. The National Transportation Safety Board Reauthorization Act
of 2006 (S. 3679), was introduced by Senator Burns on July 18, 2006, and was
ordered reported without amendment favorably on July 19, 2006 by the Senate
Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. On September 15, 2006, S.
3679 was ordered reported with an amendment in the nature of a substitute, which
was agreed to by unanimous consent of the Senate on September 25, 2006. On
December 6, 2006, an amended version of H.R. 5076, retitled the National
Transportation Safety Board Reauthorization Act of 2006, was passed by the House.

On December 7, 2006, the Senate passed H.R. 5076 without amendment, and it was
signed by the President on December 21, 2006 becoming P.L. 109-443.