The “Washington Knows Best’ Approach To ATC Giveaway Is Wrong
From AOPA: We, nearly 200 organizations strong, representing more than one million jobs and hundreds of thousands of aviators, contributing over $200 billion in annual economic activity, and who are the life-blood of connectivity to communities in every state and congressional district across the country, today, join a coalition of mayors, small airports, conservative groups, unions, businesses, and hardworking Americans to again reiterate our continuing and strong opposition to HR 2997, which would hand over our nation’s air traffic control (ATC) system to a board governed by special interests and unaccountable to Congress, hiding under the banner of so-called “privatization.”
Concerns over this fatally flawed concept have been raised by more than 100 U.S. mayors, business leaders and pilot groups who use our ATC system, consumer and agricultural organizations, conservative and liberal think thanks, congressional leaders from both political parties and a majority of American citizens – constituents who have told their representatives in Congress time and again to represent their interests and not to side with airline lobbyists in Washington.
Among many of our concerns, the legislation would give a 13-Member Board of Directors unilateral power to set and collect revenues and direct those resources, leaving small and rural communities at risk.
Despite what proponents argue, this proposed Board would ultimately control access to airports and airspace with a cursory safety review by DOT. Today, we can go to our congressional representatives if we have issues with air traffic control. Under HR 2997, we must go to court to have our grievances addressed and without proper congressional oversight this entity will go unchecked.
We hope Members of Congress will ask themselves, why does the author of this legislation include so-called “protections” for General Aviation? No one from the General Aviation community ever asked for any protections because we have long stood against and battled the airlines who want to control our air traffic control system. These are the same folks who want to make your seat size smaller, the folks who cause half of the delays in the system and cannot use the new modern technologies that have been fully deployed because they don’t want to spend the money to upgrade their aircraft, the same folks who make $7 billion dollars a year in baggage fees and other charges, maligned continuously for poor customer service, and many who have filed for bankruptcy at least once.
Highly respected, non-partisan sources have also questioned this proposal. For example, a recent Government Accountability Office report concluded that privatizing ATC could delay air traffic control modernization. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office found that H.R. 2997 would grow America’s budget deficit by nearly $100 billion and the non-partisan Congressional Research Service suggested the bill is unconstitutional.
We, those from outside of Washington, DC, urge the House of Representatives to strike Title II of HR 2997 and move a multi-year FAA Reauthorization bill that will ensure our aviation system remains the largest, safest, and most efficient in the world. Modernize Not Privatize!
Since 1939, AOPA has protected the freedom to fly by creating an environment that gives people of all ages the opportunity to enjoy aviation and all it has to offer. As the world’s largest community of pilots and aviation enthusiasts with representatives based in Frederick, Md., Washington, D.C., Wichita, Kans., and seven regions across the United States, AOPA’s events, initiatives, and services bring current and future pilots together and make aviation more accessible to everyone. To learn more, visit www.aopa.org.