Senators Cochran, Mikulski, Others Send Letter To House Transportation Committee
Four U.S. Senators on the Senate Appropriations Committee have written a letter to the House Transportation Committee that is set to begin consideration of an FAA reauthorization bill, which many think will include a plan to strip Air Traffic Control from the FAA.
The Senators, Commerce Committee Chair Thad Cochran (R-MS) (pictured), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), the ranking democrat on the committee, and Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Jack Reed (D-RI), say in the letter that they strongly disagree with the suggestion that ATC should be stripped from the FAA and put in the hands of a private entity, according to a report from Politico.
“These proposals have two fundamental problems: they break apart the FAA, and they diminish the ability of Congress to oversee the aviation system,” the letter states. “The annual appropriations process provides the oversight of agency resources that is necessary to ensure accountability for program performance and a sustained focus on aviation safety.”
Meanwhile, the co-founder and CEO of Hopscotch Air writes in the Huffington Post that imposition of a user fee to fund a private Air Traffic Control system would have a chilling effect on General Aviation, particularly flight schools which make multiple flights per day.
Andrew Schmertz writes that the proposal would cost jobs and put a dent in the $200 billion in economic impact that GA generates annually.
But he also says that Air Traffic Control is one of those functions that the federal government is uniquely qualified to perform.
In the article, Schmertz also calls on Congress the President to demand that the FAA address regulations regarding the manufacture and certification of new aircraft.