Trump outlines plan to privatize air traffic control

Trump said the FAA is too slow in upgrading technology. Trump is slated to meet with members of Congress Tuesday and then provide broader details of his infrastructure plan at during a Wednesday speech on the Ohio River.

The Kansas City area is home to about 310 air traffic controllers.

There are also concerns about whether the air traffic system would suffer during the transition. The center in Olathe is one of 22 across the country and covers traffic in a 192,000-square-mile region. It also says privatizing air traffic control amounts to "handing the airlines (for free) control over a core public asset, and providing them almost unbridled power to extract new fees and increased taxes from passengers". Both sides of the privatization debate say the system is one of the most complex and safest in the world.

Former transportation secretaries joined Trump at the White House, where he told reporters he was planning to turn the Federal Aviation Administration's air traffic control functions into a separate nonprofit.

"They have done an excellent job", Eberly said. But if his air traffic control announcement is any indication of where the rest of his infrastructure plan is headed, it will be a massive giveaway to corporations and a departure from past infrastructure programs.

"There is no consensus on this short-sighted privatization proposal", DeFazio, of OR, said. "All but our largest airports nationwide stand to be hurt by this proposal", Moran said in a statement to the McClatchy Washington D.C. bureau.

Democrats have mocked the idea of selling off the nation's air traffic system, saying the President isn't coming up with new money for needed infrastructure improvements.

The idea has circulated in Washington for years without moving forward. Under his plan, air traffic control would be turned over to a non-profit entity that would initially rely on loans.

The air traffic controllers' union is generally supportive of the proposal, as it sees the current FAA air traffic control system as somewhat inefficient. In fact Canada, which typically has a more liberal government, privatized its own air traffic control system in 1996. Crucially, these reforms are supported by air traffic controllers themselves.

Trump's desire to privatize air traffic control stems from legislation written by Bill Shuster, R-Pa., chairman of the House Transportation Committee, in 2016.

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The air traffic controllers' union also is supportive of the proposal.

The Trump proposal pledges to honor existing labor agreements.

The air traffic reform proposal, which fell short in Congress past year, would transfer oversight from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to a government-sanctioned, independent entity that would be made up of appointees from industry stakeholders.

"That is going to be so important", he said.

Trump keeps himself busy tweeting and ruling by executive order, but his cherished executive orders banning Muslims have been struck down by the courts.

The group Flyers' Rights calls it the "creation of an airline controlled corporate monopoly".

The new ATC system must be fully and financial self-sufficient and will collect user fees to cover operational costs and recapitalization. "In fact, nations that have privatized ATC have seen operational costs increase at a much higher rate than has been seen in the USA under the FAA". "And we will enhance safety".

Now President Donald Trump is looking to shift responsibility for the system from the government to a private, nonprofit corporation run by airlines and other aviation interests. "Canada is the gold standard when it comes to ATC technology".

So far, over 50 countries have already successfully transitioned their ATC operations.

A March 7 letter signed by mayors of several cities, including some from Missouri and Kansas, cast doubt on the comparison to the Canadian model.

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