The Senate Appropriations Committee unanimously approved Transportation, Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill that doubled down on an attempt to privatize the U.S. Air Traffic Control (ATC) system.
“This is yet another clear indication that Congressman Shuster’s privatization proposal is a far-flung fantasy that threatens jobs, hurts everyday Americans, and undermines the bipartisan efforts from the Senate.” said Americans Against Air Traffic Privatization Spokesperson Julia Alschuler. “Despite special interests spending upwards of a million dollars to keep this proposal on life support, Appropriators again made clear that ATC should remain within the FAA in order to protect consumers and rural communities that depend on access to safe and reliable air travel.”
In a report released on Friday, the committee stated the following about (ATC) Privatization,
The Committee strongly believes that air traffic control should remain an inherently governmental function where the Air Traffic Control Organization [ATO] is subject to on-going congressional oversight so that resource needs and activities are reviewed. The annual congressional oversight process is best suited to protect consumers and preserve access to urban, suburban and rural communities. The Senate affirmed this position by not including any structure changes to privatize the air traffic control system in the recent passage of the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act of 2016. The Committee is confident that the able leadership of the authorizing committees can reach an expeditious resolution to a multi-year authorization bill while avoiding a prolonged and contentious fight over removing the ATO from the FAA. Given the growing congressional opposition to removing the ATO from the FAA, the Committee will prohibit funding for this purpose should there be any effort to bypass the will of Congress.
This isn’t the first time Appropriators have weighed in. The United States Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies included language in the congressional spending bill for 2016 that expressed concern that privatization of ATC services would “splinter the FAA” and “limit congressional oversight, reduce air traffic services for small communities, restrict opportunities for public input, and impact the cost of air traffic for the consumer.”
The chairmen and ranking members of the United States Senate and House Appropriations Committees have each written joint, bipartisan letters of opposition to the idea of creating a separate air traffic control organization outside the FAA.
As the House now considers the FAA Reauthorization, it’s time for Congressman Shuster and House Republicans to heed the call their colleagues and the American people by taking up the common-sense bipartisan Senate Reauthorization.