Sen. Duckworth Questions Boeing And FAA After Crashes | WBEZ
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Morning Shift

Sen. Duckworth Questions Boeing And FAA After Deadly Plane Crashes

Senator Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill. has opposed President Trump’s national emergency declaration, his proposed cuts to infrastructure spending and his plan to divert military funding earmarked for Illinois to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. And that’s just in the last week.

In addition to her work in Washington, she recently toured the new Red Line Terminal on Chicago’s South Side, participated in a groundbreaking for Fermi Lab’s new particle accelerator in Batavia, and met with residents affected by toxic emissions from the Sterigenics plant in Willowbrook.

Senator Duckworth joins the Morning Shift to talk more about her recent work.

On the Boeing 737 Max 8 grounding

Tammy Duckworth: It is deeply troubling to me, because it now seems that, since there has not been [a Federal Aviation Administration] administrator there for 15 months, that industry is starting to have a little bit too much of a say in the certification process [of planes], which should be independent….

As a pilot myself — I’ve flown both professionally in the military, but now I fly as an aviation enthusiast in the general aviation community — this is very important. Everyone must be treated equally, whether you are flying a small aircraft or a multi-million-dollar aircraft. And FAA must be able to be independent in the work that it does.

Jenn White: You said that your committee, the Commerce Committee, will likely have hearings related to the crashes of these passenger jets. What specific questions do you have for Boeing and for the FAA?

Duckworth: Well, the particular question that I’m gonna have is going to be on the certification process of this particular system. It seems to be contributing to the malfunction of these aircraft.

How President Trump’s proposed $4.8 billion cut to infrastructure would affect Illinois

Duckworth: I expect to see devastating effects. I mean, we’re already, in Illinois, faced with over 2500 bridges alone that are deemed structurally insufficient...and yet we are still driving on them. In the Chicagoland area there’s 300 of those bridges….We need, in this country, a trillion dollars in investment to bring our infrastructure up from a D- grade, according to the Association of Civil Engineers, to a C grade — just to a passing grade. That doesn’t even bring us up in competition with countries like Japan and Germany and South Korea that are making tremendous investments in their infrastructure.

On the 2019 Chicago mayoral election

Duckworth: I am so thrilled that — whether it is Lori Lightfoot or Toni Preckwinkle, that it is supposed to be so historic. I think that either candidate will do a fantastic job as mayor. I have worked with both of them, both with President Preckwinkle as Cook County President, and the work that she has done, and also Lori Lightfoot was there when I was developing my judicial reform plan, and really was able to provide me a lot of thoughtful input when it came to looking at how we go about doing criminal justice reform. So I think it’s fantastic. I think it sends a signal, not just nationwide, but around the world, that it will be a woman of color running a major metropolitan city in not just the U.S., but on a global scale, and I can’t wait to see either one of them take charge.

This interview was edited for clarity and brevity by Char Daston. Click play to hear the full conversation

GUEST: Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill.

LEARN MORE: Duckworth moves to boost funding for O’Hare, rail project (Crain’s Chicago Business 2/26/19)

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