ATLANTIC CITY--The ongoing budget battle in Washington has long-term financial planning for the Next Generation Aviation System up in limbo, an FAA official said Wednesday.

FAA Senior Vice President of NextGen Victoria Cox spoke to several hundred people at an annual FAA small business procurement opportunities conference at the Taj Mahal Casino Resort Wednesday.

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Much of the research related to the project, which is an overhaul and upgrade of the nation's air traffic control system, will take place at the William J. Hughes Tech Center in Egg Harbor Township. However, with anticipated budget cuts looming, Cox said, parts of the NextGen project could be delayed or changed.

"With the unknowns, the ability to plan is very hard," Cox said after the talk.

Cox said the budget constraints, including the delay in Congress approving the Fiscal Year 2011 budget, will slow the speed at which funding for contracts was awarded. Also, the FAA will have to prioritize what needs to be completed first, Cox said. The administration will focus on programs that already have deadlines.

Cox did not say what specific projects or details have been delayed or what may need to be altered, saying that the unknown situation regarding funding made it difficult to plan specifics.

"Long term, we don't expect to see any delays based on the budget impact and we continue to wait and see what the future will be," she said.

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