While the nation has been distracted by the highly publicized health care reform debate, another landmark bill is making its way through Congress, virtually unnoticed. That bill is H.R. 2997, also known as the 21st Century Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization Act. Its purpose is to privatize control of the U.S. national airspace system – one of our nation’s most valuable assets.
House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) believes that our air traffic control system is broken. Despite the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) sterling record of managing the busiest and most complex airspace system on the planet, supporters of privatization argue that the FAA has not been effective. Their proposed solution is to give away the FAA’s valuable resources — paid for by taxpayers — to a nonprofit corporation controlled by the airlines and special interests aligned with them, empowering them to manage the nation’s skies in a manner benefitting them the most.