A new report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says the latest Congressional proposal to privatize air traffic control would add to America’s budget deficit by nearly $100 billion.
“$100 billion. Really?” asks Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association President Mark Baker.
“So here’s how it shapes up: The legislation would hand over the air traffic control system to the airlines, who are behind in equipping with the latest technology and responsible for 50% of delays; it would create a too-big-to-fail monopoly; and now it will cost taxpayers almost $100 billion to create a new system when the one we have is the envy of the world. How can anyone think this is a good idea? Imagine if we used that effort and money to continue modernizing an incredibly safe system that is already the envy of the world. Then we’d really have something.”
The updated analysis of the legislation, H.R. 2997, comes after House Democrats asked the non-partisan CBO to take another look at the bill.
House members noted the House Rules Committee made significant changes to the bill for the chamber’s consideration, including the addition of a tax title.Signing the letter requesting the updated review were ranking members of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Peter DeFazio (D-OR); the Committee on the Budget, John Yarmuth (D-KY); the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX); and the Committee on Ways and Means, Richard Neal (D-MA).
The ATC privatization proposal was introduced earlier this year by House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA).
The bill would turn over control of the system — currently overseen by Congress — to a new entity governed by private interests unaccountable to congressional oversight.
National Business Aviation Association President and CEO Ed Bolen said the updated CBO score adds to the many, significant concerns already raised by a diverse and growing chorus of people and organizations over H.R. 2997, including congressional leaders from both political parties, more than 100 aviation organizations, over 100 business leaders who are also pilots, 100 U.S. mayors, consumer and agricultural groups, and a majority of American citizens, who oppose the idea by a two-to-one majority.
“This study is further evidence that ATC privatization is a bad idea for all Americans,” Bolen said. “The new CBO findings show that the House bill to privatize ATC would increase the nation’s budget deficit by nearly $100 billion. Adding to the budget deficit, just to help the big airlines, is the definition of bad public policy.”
NBAA members have joined with other GA advocates in opposition to the bill. NBAA’s Contact Congress provides a means for using email and social media to alert lawmakers to the industry’s opposition to H.R. 2997. In addition, a toll-free action line — 1-833-GA-VOICE — connects constituents with elected representatives, along with a brief list of suggested talking points.
The general aviation community is also supporting a website – ATCNotforSale.com – where citizens can learn more about ATC privatization, and contact their elected officials to oppose H.R. 2997.
A Facebook page – Air Traffic Control – ATC Not for Sale – also provides regular updates about the concerns over ATC privatization.