WASHINGTON (April 10)—The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration´s fiscal year 2002 operating budget won´t keep pace with inflation, despite imminent rulemakings for tire labeling revisions, onboard tire pressure sensors and "early warning" procedures for possible tire and auto defects. The $16 million increase the Bush administration has proposed for NHTSA´s fiscal year 2002 funding is about 4 percent more than the current year, but most of the increase will go for grants the agency gives to states and other safety agencies. NHTSA´s own $190 million operating budget will increase by only $5.5 million, or less than 3 percent. "We believe it´s enough to do the job," said NHTSA Executive Director Robert Shelton, who is serving as the agency´s interim administrator while the administration seeks a nominee for the permanent job. The tire labeling and early warning final rules are due out in June 2002; the rule for tire pressure sensors must be completed by November 2001, with an effective date of November 2003.