Luis Sanchez THE HILL
Shuster Drops Push to Privatize Air Traffic Control
February 27, 2018
  • Share
  • House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) is dropping his effort to separate air traffic control from the federal government.

    “Despite an unprecedented level of support for this legislation – from bipartisan lawmakers, industry, and conservative groups and labor groups alike – some of my own colleagues refused to support shrinking the federal government by 35,000 employees, cutting taxes, and stopping wasteful spending,” Shuster wrote in a statement.

    The proposed legislation, which was unveiled by Shuster back in June and which the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved in a 32-25 vote last year, would have shifted control of the country’s air navigation system to a private nonprofit organization over three years. The system would have been controlled by a board of directors that would have the power to impose user fees.

    The drastic change would have removed more than 30,000 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) employees from the federal payroll.

    The proposal was opposed by the Senate — which had proposed their own long-term FAA bill that kept the air traffic control in government hands — and most Democrats, but it saw some hope for passage after President Trump expressed support for privatizing the air traffic control.

    Trump has been reported to have pushed for his longtime pilot to head the FAA.

    “Although our air traffic control reform provisions did not reach the obvious level of support needed to pass Congress, I intend to work with Senator [John] Thune [R-S.D.] and move forward with a reauthorization bill to provide long-term stability for the FAA,” Shuster said.

    The FAA’s legal authority expires at the end of September.