Trump, Shuster back privatizing air-traffic-control system

President Trump speaks before signing two bills last week at the White House

President Trump speaks before signing two bills last week at the White House

"The president's leadership means that we can look forward to legislation that gets government out of the way so we can modernize for the future and maintain our global leadership in aviation", said Nicholas Calio, president of Airlines for America, which represents American, United, Southwest and others.

The Federal Aviation Administration spends almost $10 billion a year on air traffic control funded largely through passenger user fees, and has about 28,000 air traffic control personnel. Funding for the new organization will come exclusively from user fees, and the use of those funds will be managed by, among others, airline representatives, unions, and general aviation and airports.

But actually, you'll notice, Trump isn't talking about infrastructure at all.

For a Trump White House beset by investigation into its ties with Russian Federation, which is also struggling to gain traction on other legislative efforts including promised tax reform - which so far exists only as a one-page outline - and the health care overhaul, low-hanging fruit could give them an easy win.

Under Trump's proposal, a board made up of airline, union and airport officials would oversee the nonprofit entity that would assume oversight after a three-year transition.

It says under a privatized air traffic control system, industry and other stakeholders would be able to direct investments and resources and set taxes and fees to benefit stakeholders' bottom line, instead of the public good.

The FAA had been working to upgrade the system for years, Trump said.

Under the new guidelines, the Trump administration proposes allowing a self-financing, non-profit organisation to take over air traffic control systems, ensuring taxpayer money is not required for it.

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"Dismantling the current system will devastate [general aviation] while not accomplishing the desired goals of efficiency and technological improvements", the EAA said in a press release.

Gribbin said the idea of utilizing user-based fees to fund air traffic control had roots in the Clinton administration, and the overall plan had the backing of at least one employee group as a way to fill a 28-year low in air traffic controller recruiting.

But critics say the radar and radio tech it uses to do that is outdated.

The new nonprofit would be funded through a series of user-based fees that would take the place of tax-based revenue used now to fund air traffic control operations.

To no one's shock, Democrats in Congress have come out against privatizing air traffic control.

Shuster, chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, is a proponent of what he calls separating the regulator from the service provider.

In a major infrastructure revitalization push, President Donald Trump will kickoff the series of events, nicknamed infrastructure week, with a statement regarding privatizing air traffic control.

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