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For 21st century air travel

Washington, D.C., June 7, 2017 | Justin Harclerode (202) 225-9446
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For 21st century air travel

By Editorial Staff 
June 7, 2017

There is always a danger that anything this president advocates becomes a Rorschach test on what people think about Donald Trump. So it is with his proposal, announced Monday, to privatize the nation’s air traffic control system.

The fact that the proposal is hardly new (it has been kicking around for decades) and far from revolutionary (Canada, Britain, France and Germany long ago adopted similar air traffic control structures) hasn’t kept the usual (Democratic) suspects from dismissing it out of hand.

U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called it a “Trojan horse for undermining workers’ wages and handing massive tax breaks to billionaires and corporations.” Other Democrats simply insist — without evidence — that it will cost consumers more.

What isn’t acceptable, of course, is the status quo of growing airport delays, some of which are clearly attributable to the antiquated radar systems that the Federal Aviation Administration hasn’t been able to update even after years of planning for same.

Trump announced his proposal Monday with all the hoopla of having actually accomplished something. Souvenir pens from a signing ceremony for a letter to Congress are truly a Trumpian invention. It’s the follow-through by the president that might be helpful.

The actual legislation, which closely follows a bill filed last year by U.S. House Transportation Committee Chairman Bill Shuster, sets up a private, nonprofit organization separate from the FAA, which will continue to be responsible for airline safety and certification.

The new board would include representatives of the airlines, unions and airports; its work funded through user fees. And that should mean that airport control towers might finally get the kind of GPS equipment that drivers have been using in their cars for years.

It’s time — if only Democrats can get out of their own way and realize a “win” for Trump might also be a win for their traveling constituents.

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Tags: Aviation