August 17, 2017 - ATC privatization as proposed in the 21st Century Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization Act (H.R. 2997) would add nearly $100 billion dollars to the federal deficit over the next 10 years, according to updated figures released this week by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
This latest estimate, increased from a $20 billion budget deficit estimate made just a few months ago, is yet another reason why this proposal is not only bad for general aviation, but bad for the nation overall. EAA and its members have been actively engaged in the fight against ATC privatization, which would hand control of the nation’s airspace to a private, nonprofit corporation governed by a board dominated by the airlines and other commercial and financial interests. With no congressional oversight, the board would be accountable to no one; devastating general aviation, your freedom of flight, rural and GA airports, and the fly-ins and aviation activities you enjoy.
In addition, Fox News last week published an editorial criticizing the proposed legislation, saying H.R. 2997 has little semblance to private enterprise, with “no entrepreneurs, and no competition, and no prices,” and that ATC privatization would instead be a government-mandated monopoly.
Despite promises from lawmakers that ATC user fees will not be introduced, $100 billion in funding would need to come from somewhere. That cost burden would likely fall to general aviation pilots and other small users of the system with little representation on the privatized board, in addition to the flying public through higher airline ticket prices.
Although H.R. 2997 did not have enough support for a full House vote prior to Congress’ August recess, proponents are still hard at work gathering support to move the bill to the floor when Congress reconvenes in September. Therefore, it is urgent that you continue contacting your representatives via www.ATCnotforsale.com and EAA’s Rally Congress tool throughout the month of August and make your voices heard. In addition, many lawmakers are in their home districts during the summer recess, giving you an opportunity to speak to them personally and express opposition for this bad legislation.