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Friday
Oct062017

GA Community Again Opposes 'Washington-Knows-Best' Approach to ATC Privatization

The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) stood with a coalition representing more than 200 organizations, supporting one million jobs, and generating more than $200 billion in economic activity, in a joint statement reiterating opposition to legislation for so-called "privatization" of the nation’s air traffic control (ATC) system.

The statement called on Congress to strip Title II of H.R. 2997, the 21st Century AIRR Act.

"Among many of our concerns, the legislation would give a 13-Member Board of Directors unilateral power to set and collect revenues and direct those resources, leaving small and rural communities at risk," read the statement, issued by the group.

Read the statement in its entirety.

The bill has been issued as part of a debate in Congress over reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Under H.R. 2997, congressional oversight of the public's aviation system would be replaced by oversight from a private, airline-centric group, unaccountable to Congress.

"Despite what proponents argue, this proposed Board would ultimately control access to airports and airspace with a cursory safety review by DOT [the Department of Transportation]. Under H.R. 2997, we must go to court to have our grievances addressed and without proper congressional oversight this entity will go unchecked."

The groups reiterated general aviation's value as the "life-blood of connectivity to communities in every state and congressional district across the country." At the same time, they noted that many others have concerns about ATC privatization plan as well – including mayors, small airport groups, unions, businesses, consumer organizations, agricultural groups, pilots' organizations, congressional leaders from both political parties, conservative and liberal think tanks and others. In repeated surveys, a majority of Americans have also opposed the troubling concept.

Respected, nonpartisan sources have also questioned the legislation. For example, a recent Government Accountability Office report concluded that privatizing ATC could delay air traffic control modernization. The Congressional Budget Office found that H.R. 2997 would grow the U.S. budget deficit by nearly $100 billion. The Congressional Research Service questioned the Constitutionality of H.R. 2997.

The groups' statement concluded by calling on Congress to move forward with an FAA reauthorization plan that sets aside ATC privatization, and instead asking Congress to approve a "bill that will ensure our aviation system remains the largest, safest, and most efficient."

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