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ATC Privatization Pops Up Again in White House Budget
EAA and other GA groups remain unified against plan
February 13, 2018 - The White House again pushed out the flawed ATC privatization proposal on Monday as part of its 2019 federal budget proposal, despite growing opposition to the plan, which would give control of the nation’s air traffic system to a board controlled by major airlines.
EAA and other general aviation groups, along with a wide spectrum of aviation, consumer, and even some conservative groups, have already dismissed the ATC privatization proposal included in H.R. 2997. Along with the threat that privatization would present to general aviation and rural airports, such a change would eliminate congressional oversight of the nation’s air traffic system currently maintained by the FAA, without providing a faster path to modernization.
“As long as the privatization idea keeps reappearing, EAA joins the rest of the GA community in saying what we’ve said before: This is a bad solution in search of nonexistent problem,” said Jack J. Pelton, EAA CEO and Chairman of the Board. “This plan does not provide any relief to the true causes of delays in the ATC system and constitutes a corporate giveaway of taxpayer-funded national assets. It is crony capitalism at its worst.”
The proposal in H.R. 2997 faced strong opposition from many in Congress across the political spectrum. Three non-partisan government oversight agencies also panned the proposal for reasons that included actually slowing FAA’s pace of modernization to adding $100 billion to the federal deficit over the next decade. There are also questions about national security posed by a nongovernment entity operating a national airspace system.
Other controversial provisions in the White House budget proposal would slash funding for Essential Air Service to rural airports that rely on commercial service to link to major hubs, and reduced FAA funding that would include the Airport Improvement Program used to make safety upgrades at general aviation airports.
“We have heard many times that White House budget proposals are aspirational goals for what an administration would like to see, but the budgets are almost always dead on arrival to Congress,” Pelton added. “We will be asking for EAA members and the GA community to help us make sure that any ATC privatization proposal remains nothing more than a proposal. EAA continues to stand for modernization, not privatization.”