|CFIF Reiterates Concerns Regarding Proposals to Restructure Nation's Air Traffic Control (ATC) System|
|Thursday, February 09 2017|
February 9, 2017
The Honorable Bill Shuster The Honorable Peter DeFazio
The Honorable Rick Larsen The Honorable Frank LoBiondo
On behalf of over 250,000 supporters and activists across the nation, the Center for Individual Freedom (CFIF) reiterates our deep concerns regarding leading proposals to restructure the nation's air traffic control (ATC) system.
In that vein, please find the coalition letter from August of last year that details many of those concerns here.
Since that letter, the Defense Department stated just last week that creating a separate new ATC organization "raises serious concerns." In its analysis, the Pentagon said, "The establishment of a new entity separate from the FAA raises serious concerns regarding the disposition of certain unique National Defense procedures, programs and policy." It noted, "It is significant to note that the DOD relies on FAA 'command and control' capabilities in the execution of the national defense mission."
Additionally, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) determined last year that creation of a nonprofit ATC corporation would widen the federal budget deficit by $20 billion between 2017 and 2026, and increase net direct spending by an alarming $90 billion over that same period. Separately, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) also determined that the proposed ATC restructuring may delay implementation of the NextGen air transportation system while necessary new safety oversight procedures were developed.
Although proponents of the current ATC restructuring proposal characterize it as "privatization," it isn't actual privatization at all. Rather, it would create a federally-chartered nonprofit corporation that repeats the mistakes of previous public/private entities like Amtrak or the U.S. Postal Service. The ATC proposal maintains monopoly power over air traffic control while continuing or expanding benefits for the current union of federal air traffic controllers. That alone undermines the primary benefit that true privatization would provide, the ability to eliminate inefficiencies of government bureaucracy in favor of competition and free-market choice. Indeed, the ATC proposal might actually weaken restraints on unionized air traffic controllers in such areas as personnel changes, salary limits and the current mandatory retirement age of 56 (compared to the retirement age of 65 for pilots themselves), which explains why the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) strongly favors the proposal.
We also remain concerned that the proposed new ATC entity would possess the power to levy new taxes and user fees without Congressional oversight or competition that true privatization would provide, which could result in skyrocketing travel costs for the consumers you represent.
Thank you very much for your attention to this extremely important matter.
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