Thu, Apr 24, 2003
No User Fees: System Spreads ATC Cost Among General
The AOPA tells us that following an intense Capitol Hill
campaign, bipartisan legislation to keep air traffic control (ATC)
in government hands is now pending in Congress. AOPA has spoken in
favor of this legislation.
The White House Office of Management and Budget
had declared ATC a "commercial activity," opening the possibility
that ATC operations could be turned over to private contractors.
Such a move could ultimately lead to a private corporation running
the nation's air traffic control and charging user fees.
During Capitol Hill testimony earlier this month, AOPA President
Phil Boyer called for legislation declaring ATC an "inherently
governmental" function. "According to the OMB itself," Boyer noted,
"inherently governmental functions are those 'so intimately related
to the public interest as to mandate performance by federal
employees.' We believe that air traffic control meets the
definition of 'inherently governmental.'"
Republican representatives Jack Quinn (R-NY), and Frank LoBiondo
(R-NJ) have joined James Oberstar (D-MN), the ranking Democrat on
the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and Peter
DeFazio (D-OR), senior Democrat on the aviation subcommittee, to
introduce a bill declaring that air traffic control (ATC) is an
inherently government function.
poor results in countries that have tried privatized ATC, Rep.
DeFazio said, "We can't afford to contract out the safety of the
flying public to the lowest bidder."
Fellow sponsor Rep. Quinn added, "It is imperative that our air
traffic controllers continue to serve as a federal government
The Air Traffic Control System Integrity Act of 2003 (H.R. 1711)
is a companion piece to legislation introduced in the U.S. Senate
by Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ).
"I am encouraged to see a commitment by key leaders in both
chambers of Congress to prevent any movement toward that end," said
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