Congressman Peter DeFazio and Congressman Rick Larsen The Washington Post
Reform the Air-Traffic-Control System, but Don’t Privatize It
April 18, 2017
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  • The April 10 editorial “A bright idea for Mr. Trump’s ‘skinny budget’ ” called spinning off the nation’s air-traffic-control operations to a corporation a “bright idea.”

    However, serious concerns have been raised about whether air-traffic-control privatization would guarantee safety, protect national security and expedite new technology while keeping the U.S. aviation system solvent. All of these very real concerns have been validated by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office.

     Last year, the GAO found that a privatized air-traffic-control system would be “too big to fail,” meaning taxpayers might have to bail out the corporation if it couldn’t pay the costs to operate a safe system. The GAO also could not confirm that a private system would be capable of protecting national security and collaborating with the military to protect Americans from security threats, nor could it guarantee that a private corporation would speed up the Federal Aviation Administration’s work to modernize the nation’s air-traffic-control system.

     A real bright idea would be for Congress to pass targeted reforms to fix the problems facing the FAA today without ripping the agency apart. Privatizing our air-traffic-control system presents myriad risks and perils. Targeted reforms can achieve our common objectives and maintain our nation’s unparalleled aviation safety record.