When it comes to dealing with issues and policies affecting the corporate travel industry, the National Business Travel Association (NBTA) has given the U.S. government a C+, it announced last week.
The grade, given the day after President Barack Obama’s first State of the Union Address, is part of the association’s “2009 Government Relations Scorecard,” which analyzes actions of industry importance taken by Congress and the Obama Administration in 2009 and offers recommendations for the federal government in 2010.
“2009 was one of the toughest years America has faced in decades,” NBTA Executive Director and COO Michael W. McCormick said in a statement. “And while much work was done by Congress and the Obama Administration to help our ailing economy, efforts to further the corporate travel industry earned the government an average rating. There is clearly more work to be done, and NBTA stands ready to support the government in its efforts to ensure the quality and safe facilitation of global business travel.”
In addition to an overall grade, NBTA gave the government three marks based on progress made in 2009 in three key categories: For international travel, it gave the government a B+; for domestic travel, it gave the government a C; and for taxes and regulation it gave the government a D-.
Finally, NBTA graded the government as follows on a series of specific policy issues:
• Federal Aviation Administration Funding: F
• Airline Performance and Aviation Congestion: B+
• Transportation Infrastructure: A
• Domestic Registered Traveler: C-
• Terrorist Watch List and Passenger Rights: B
• Traveler Taxes: C
• Energy and Climate Change: Incomplete
• Regulation of Business Travel: D
• International Registered Traveler: A
• Visa Processing and the Visa Waiver Program: B-
• Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI): A-
• Model Ports of Entry: D-
NBTA gave the government its highest grades—in transportation infrastructure and international registered traveler programs—in recognition of the Department of Transportation, which announced last week that it would give states $8 billion for high-speed rail projects, and the Department of Homeland Security, which last year expanded its Global Entry program to 13 additional U.S. airports.
NBTA gave its only failing grade, meanwhile, for FAA funding, citing the government’s failure to pass legislation that would help speed the deployment of a Next Generation Air Transportation System to modernize the country’s aviation infrastructure.
Along with its 2009 grades, NBTA last week issued its “2010 Government Relations Agenda,” which identified as top 2010 priorities “educating Congress and the Administration about the value of business travel, a healthy travel infrastructure, passenger efficiency and safety, and fair taxation and fees.”