Leahy, Reed: Trump’s Air Traffic Privatization Plan Would Sell Out America’s Airspace Safety

[WASHINGTON (Wednesday, June 7, 2017) – Vice Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing And Urban Development And Related Agencies Jack Reed (D-R.I.) issued a joint statement on President Trump’s announcement that the administration wants to privatize Air Traffic Control (ATC).  The statement coincides with Wednesday’s Senate Commerce Committee hearing of the Administration’s perspectives on ATC privatization.]

President Trump’s plan to remove the air traffic control system from the FAA seems to be more about the airlines’ interests rather than passengers and taxpayers. 

Airline passengers shouldn’t have to pay an extra upgrade fee to ensure their safety.  And the American people shouldn’t be forced to turn over billions of dollars of investments they’ve made over the years to a quasi-private corporation that doesn’t have their best interests at heart and isn’t subject to meaningful oversight.

In addition to the possibility of soaring costs for consumers, President Trump’s privatization plan could threaten safety and oversight and lead to less service to small airports and rural areas.  That is not acceptable.

Any plan to modernize our air traffic control system must put safety first and protect our airspace as the public asset that it is.   

The Appropriations Committee has provided 100 percent of the FAA budget request for years.  Today, the United States has the largest, most complex, safest and most efficient aviation system in the world. 

Corporate interests that are driven to make investment decisions that benefit their own bottom lines will not yield these same results, protect our workforce, or preserve essential access for many small and rural communities.  Privatizing these operations during this critical period of technological advancement will be a severe setback, relegating the system to total limbo for years and jeopardizing continued investment and progress.  Already, the President is recommending freezing all new construction and cutting NextGen’s budget.  

We can do better, but, simply put, privatization would steer us in the wrong direction.  We cannot leave smaller states and rural communities behind and turn passengers into cash cows to foot the bill.