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Senate Committee Says No To ATC Privatization

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Old July 26th 17, 08:14 PM posted to rec.aviation.piloting
Larry Dighera
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Default Senate Committee Says No To ATC Privatization


Senate Committee Says No To ATC Privatization
By Mary Grady

July 26, 2017

General aviation advocacy groups have united in their efforts to oppose the
privatization of the nation’s air traffic control system, and on Tuesday in
Washington, the Senate Appropriations subcommittee took their side. The
subcommittee approved a spending bill that would allot $16.7 billion to the
FAA, and rejected the proposal to spin off ATC functions to a nonprofit
corporation. A House subcommittee had voted to support privatization
which is also supported by the White House. The two bills will be debated in
Congress, which is not expected to happen until September. During those
debates, all options will be in play, until a final vote is taken and a
unified bill is sent to the White House.

Both the House and Senate are scheduled to take a five-week recess starting
next week, and will need to move quickly when they return to complete the
bill before FAA funding runs out at the end of September. This week at EAA
AirVenture, several general aviation leaders held a rally on the issues
Monday morning. EAA President Jack Pelton, AOPA President Mark Baker, GAMA
President Pete Bunce and NBAA President Ed Bolen addressed the crowd. Baker,
Bunce, and Bolen planned to leave for Washington today to lobby. Volunteers
in red “Modernize NOT Privatize” shirts are working the crowds at
AirVenture, encouraging visitors to call their representatives in Washington
right from the AirVenture grounds.

“The [Trump] administration is hell-bent on making [privatization] happen,
and we have to be as equally unified to make sure that we all encourage our
elected officials to vote ‘no,’” Pelton told the crowd.
================================================== ==========


June 28, 2017

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved a proposal on
Tuesday to separate air traffic control from the FAA and transfer to it a
nonprofit corporation over three years, according to a report in The Hill.
The bill would create a board of directors with the power to impose user
fees; however, general aviation users would be exempt from fees. The board’s
13 members would include three from the airlines – one each for passenger,
cargo and regional carriers – and one seat each for GA and business
aviation. The rest of the seats would be occupied by government, airports,
air traffic controllers, commercial pilots and two more members chosen by
the group. The FAA would retain safety oversight. The FAA bill will be
considered on the House floor next month.

About 35,000 workers, including 14,000 controllers and 6,000 technicians,
would be affected by moving air traffic control operations out of the FAA,
according to USA Today. NATCA President Paul Rinaldi said last week he would
support the House bill. “After extremely careful review, consideration, and
deliberation, we have decided to support the bill because it fully aligns
with NATCA’s policies, practices, and core principles,” he said in a news
release. “We made sure that we clearly understood how this bill would
protect the National Airspace System and allow it to continue to grow, as
well as how it would protect the men and women who are the backbone of the
system. This bill protects our workforce – including pay, benefits,
retirement, and collective bargaining rights.”

Most GA advocacy groups have expressed opposition to separating ATC from the
FAA, and instead support the Senate version of the bill, which would retain
ATC in its current form. “Privatizing ATC is a bad solution in search of a
nonexistent problem,” said EAA Chairman Jack Pelton. “The unknown costs,
transition, and fallout from this plan would be extremely harmful to general
aviation.” The two versions must still be worked out in Congress before a
final version of the bill becomes law

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