Sun, Jul 27, 2003
Congressional Conference Committee Works Out Differences In
House, Senate Bills
Lawmakers on Capitol Hill
Friday agreed on a a plan that will put about 70 airports in the
hands of private air traffic controllers, a move opponents say will
cause huge safety headaches in the skies above us.
"The move to privatize our air traffic control system is a risky
experiment that ignores the disastrous experiences around the
globe," said Sonny Hall, president of the Transportation Trades
Department of the AFL-CIO, in a prepared statement.
Rep. James Oberstar (D-MN) was part of the conference committee
that worked out the differences between the House and Senate
versions of the bill, which authorizes spending for the FAA for the
next four years. But he's still not happy. One of the control
towers on the list, he says, is Van Nuys Airport. It's in Los
Angeles airspace, the busiest in the world.
"You'll unravel all the skilled work force and
hire it out," he said during a meeting of the conference committee
But majorities in the Republican-controlled House and Senate
think otherwise. Still, FAA Administrator Marion Blakey has no
plans to privatize the ATC system, said administration spokesman
Greg Martin. The full House and Senate must still approve the
measure before it's sent on to President Bush.
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