Trump to embrace privatization of air traffic control system

Posted June 06, 2017

At the same time, members of the congressional Progressive Caucus have signed on to a plan to spend $2 trillion on infrastructure, a proposal they are calling the 21st Century New Deal for Jobs.

"If we adopt these changes Americans can look forward to cheaper, faster and safer travel, a future where 20 percent of the ticket price doesn't go to the government, and when you don't have to sit on a tarmac or circle for hours and hours over an airport", Trump said.

Joined by Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, Vice President Pence, a group of former transportation secretaries, and a host of airline executives, the president said the new system would help the USA catch up with the technological advances of other countries like Canada.

Those pledges have been eclipsed by the political furor over Russia's alleged meddling in the 2016 US election. Nelson on Monday called it "a risk and liability we can't afford to take", and Moran, who serves on the Senate Commerce Committee, offered even stronger words.

"All but our largest airports nationwide stand to be hurt by this proposal".

Under Shuster's proposed legislation, the FAA would still have oversight of air traffic control, and if improved, the bill would remove 30,000 employees from the government's payroll.

U.S. President Donald Trump announces his air traffic control initiative at the White House in Washington, D.C., June 5, 2017.

"The United States has led the world in aviation since pioneering this modern mode of transportation", Shuster said in 2016 when he announced the legislation.

Shuster a year ago tried to pass an FAA privatization bill, but it was stymied by opposition and other controversies, including the disclosure that Shuster was dating a top lobbyist for the airlines. Shuster now stands a better chance, especially if the White House leans on Republicans who once were critical, such as Thune, but have now grown quieter. This new entity will not need taxpayer money, which is very shocking when people hear that.

United States tightening net around North Korea
North Korea also possesses numerous submarines, meaning an unintentional maritime clash is not out of the question. The U.S. military is steadily assembling the hardware necessary for an attack on North Korea.

"Dozens of countries have already made similar changes with terrific results, and we're going to top them actually by a long shot".

Airlines and the controllers union say that the FAA's effort to modernize the air traffic system has been slowed down by the agency's dependence on inconsistent funding from Congress and occasional government shutdowns and controller furloughs.

Trump said that "the previous administration spent over $7 billion to upgrade the system and totally failed" - a claim that FAA officials reject.

The U.S. Congress, working with stakeholders and FAA, has implemented equitable solutions to challenges like rural and small community service, fair access for all aviation users, environmental impacts of noise and traffic, infrastructure and funding mechanisms. Huerta acknowledged, however, that government procurement requirements have slowed the NextGen rollout.

The president said under his plan, air traffic controllers will have "financial security, professional opportunity, and far superior equipment". The governing board would assume all of the FAA's assets pertaining to air traffic control, a transfer of tens of billions of dollars. It will reduce costs and increase convenience for every American consumer, and these new efficiencies will produce a huge economic boost for the country and for the 1 in 14 American jobs that aviation supports.

"Not only is the president's proposal a huge power grab for the commercial airlines, but the notion that the airlines can run anything better, let along air traffic control, is laughable", said Selena Shilad, the group's executive director.

"It is unfathomable, even risky, to consider gambling with the future and safety of our air traffic control system through privatization", PASS President Mike Perrone said in a statement last month.

Trump's announcement kicked off a week of events where he expects to unveil several strategies for dealing with public infrastructure.

"While AOPA is open to proposals aimed at making the air traffic control system more efficient and delivering technology in a timely and cost effective manner, we have consistently said we will not support policies that impose user fees on general aviation", added Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association president and CEO Mark Baker.