General Aviation News
Mayors Say No to Privatizing ATC
March 7, 2017
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  • More than 115 mayors in all 50 states recently wrote a letter to Congress expressing concern about the impact of air traffic control privatization on communities across the country, especially those in rural regions of the country.

    For these communities, local airports and general aviation represent a vital connection for small businesses, farms, emergency responders and other critical services, according to officials with the Alliance for Aviation Across America.

    This proposal to privatize the air traffic control system, which is being pushed by the airlines, would put this system under the purview of a private board of mostly commercial interests that would direct everything from taxes and fees, to airport investments and access, alliance officials said.

    The letter from the mayors is the latest in a growing number of voices raising concerns about the proposal to privatize the air traffic control system.

    Consumer advocates, free market groups, major committees in Congress, chambers of commerce, and businesses have all voiced concerns about this proposal, alliance officials noted.

    In addition, the American people disapprove of this idea by an overwhelming 62%, according to a recent survey .

    The full text of the letter is below.

    Dear Member of Congress:

    As you debate reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), I write to ask you to reject any risky plans to privatize our air traffic control system and take away Congressional oversight of this important public system.

    Over the last year, proposals have recently been forwarded to put this vital infrastructure under the control of a private entity dominated by the commercial airlines.  On behalf of the tens of thousands of communities around the country, we are concerned about the very real and dire ramifications of eliminating Congressional oversight of this public air transportation infrastructure.

    For tens of thousands of communities such as ours around the country, we depend on our local airport and all sectors of transportation to reach far-off markets and access critical services such as law enforcement, disaster relief, and medical care.  Small aircraft and airports are utilized on a daily basis to help transport blood and organs to residents in rural communities, reunite veterans back from overseas with their families, maintain power lines, and help our companies reach customers in far-off markets, among many other priorities.

    Privatization would hand over decisions about infrastructure funding, taxes and fees, consumer complaints, noise, and many other priorities, to a board of private interests dominated by the commercial airlines. These are the same airlines that have cut back flights to smaller communities by more than 20 percent in recent years, and have stated their intent to divert investment from small and mid-sized communities to large ones where the airlines are most profitable.

    We are also concerned about costs and access.  For example, the Canadian, privatized system, which is often held up as the system the U.S. should emulate, is more expensive than the system we have in the US by miles flown.  In the U.K., that system has seen “more delays, higher fares and reduced connectivity” at London’s airports since privatization.  So while we all agree that modernizing our air traffic control system and investing in American infrastructure should be among our highest priorities, privatization is not the answer.

    We look forward to working with you throughout this process to ensure that our air transportation system protects communities of all sizes and keeps passengers flying safely and efficiently.


    Elmira, NY – Mayor Daniel J. Mandell

    Clarksburg, WV – Mayor Catherine A. Goings

    Ocala, FL – Mayor Kent Guinn

    Corning, NY – Mayor Richard P. Negri

    Mitchell, SD – Mayor Jerry Toomey

    Fairmont, WV – Mayor Ronald J. Straight Sr.

    Edgemont, SD – Mayor Carl A. Shaw

    Warwick, NY – Michael J. Newhard

    Texarkana, AR – Mayor Ruth Penney Bell

    Easton, MD – Mayor Robert C. Willey

    Watertown, SD – Mayor Steve Thorson

    Fayetteville, AR – Mayor Lioneld Jordan

    Huron, SD – Mayor Paul Aylward

    Texarkana, TX – Mayor Bob Bruggeman

    Bloomington, IL – Mayor Tari Renner

    Chillicothe, MO – Mayor Charles E. Haney

    Lewisburg, WV – Mayor John Manchester

    Worcester, MA – Mayor Joseph M. Petty

    Elkins, WV Mayor Van T. Broughton

    Wall, SD – Mayor Marty Huether

    Sturgis, SD – Mayor Mark C. Carstensen

    Longmont, CO – Mayor Dennis Coombs

    Albert Lea, MN – Mayor Vern Rasmussen Jr.

    Lake Wales, FL – Mayor Eugene Fultz

    Santa Barbara, CA – Mayor Helene Schneider

    Riverside, CA – Mayor William Bailey

    McCall, ID – Mayor Jackie J. Aymon

    Sioux Falls, SD – Mayor Mike Huether

    Concord, NC – Mayor Scott Padgett

    Prospect Heights, IL – Mayor Nicholas Helmer

    Mountain Home, ID – Mayor Rich Sykes

    Lewiston, ID – Mayor Jim Kleeburg

    Florence, SC – Mayor Stephen J. Wukela

    Fernley, NV – Mayor Roy G. Edgington Jr.

    Huntington, WV – Mayor Steve Williams

    Morristown, NJ – Mayor Timothy Dougherty

    Macomb, IL – Mayor Michael J. Inman

    Kamiah, ID – Mayor Dale Schneider

    Mesquite, NV – Mayor Allan Litman

    Mount Pleasant, SC – Mayor Linda Page

    Newport, OR – Mayor Sandy Roumagoux

    Jacksonville, IL – Mayor Andy Ezard

    Broomfield, CO – Mayor Randy Ahrens

    Petaluma, CA – Mayor David Glass

    DeLand, FL – Mayor Robert F. Apgar

    Jackson, TN – Mayor Jerry Gist

    Gainesville, FL – Mayor Lauren Poe

    Annapolis, MD – Mayor Mike Pantelides

    Fernandina Beach, FL – Mayor John A. Miller

    Naples, FL – Mayor Bill Barnett

    Fargo, ND – Mayor Tim Mahoney

    Sedalia, MO – Mayor Stephen Galliher

    Wenatchee, WA – Mayor Frank Kuntz

    Coeur d’Alene, ID – Mayor Steve Widmyer

    Cumberland, MD – Mayor Brian Grim

    Keene, NH – Mayor Kendall Lane

    Zanesville, OH – Mayor Jeff Tilton

    Youngstown, OH – Mayor John McNally IV

    Henderson, NV – Mayor Andy Hafen

    Big Rapids, MI – Mayor Mark Warba

    Pinedale, WY – Mayor Bob Jones

    Pekin, IL – Mayor John McCabe

    Hermiston, OR – Dr. Dave Drotzmann, Mayor

    Wausau, WI – Mayor Robert Mielke

    Danbury, CT – Mayor Mark D. Boughton

    New London, CT – Mayor Michael Passero

    Idaho Falls, ID – Mayor Rebecca L. Noah Casper

    Valdez, AK- Mayor Ruth E. Knight

    Brigham City, UT – Mayor Tyler Vincent

    Salisbury, MD – Mayor Jacob R. Day

    Ely, MN – Mayor Chuck Novak

    Winona, MN – Mayor Mark Peterson

    New Ulm, MN – Mayor Robert J. Beussman

    Wasilla, AK – Mayor Bert Cottle

    Barre, VT – Mayor Thom Lauzon

    Yerington, NV – Mayor George Dini

    Taos, NM – Mayor Daniel Barrone

    Arlington, WA – Mayor Barbara Tolbert

    Boulder, CO – Mayor Suzanne Jones

    Pullman, WA – Mayor Glenn A. Johnson, Ph.D.

    Abilene, TX – Mayor Norm Archibald

    Monroe, NC – Mayor Bobby Kilgore

    Moscow, ID – Mayor Bill Lambert

    Georgetown, DE – Mayor William E. West

    Kenai, AK – Mayor Brian G. Gabriel, Sr.

    Riverton, WY – Mayor John ‘Lars’ Baker

    Grant, NE – Mayor Michael Wyatt

    Findlay, OH – Mayor Lydia Mihalik

    Martinsburg, WV – Mayor George Karos

    Bingen, WA – Mayor Betty J. Barnes

    Zephyrhills, FL Mayor Gene Whitfield

    Terre Haute, IN – Mayor Duke Bennett

    Carrollton, GA – Mayor Walt Hollingsworth

    Altus, OK – Mayor Jack Smiley

    Wheeling, WV – Mayor Glenn F. Elliott, Jr.

    Salinas, CA – Mayor Joe Gunter

    Hays, KS – Mayor Shaun Musil

    Augusta, ME – Mayor David Rollins

    Pendleton, OR – Mayor Phillip W. Houk

    Hot Springs, AR – Mayor Ruth Carney

    Fallon, NV – Mayor Ken Tedford Jr.

    Latrobe, PA – Mayor Rosie Wolford

    Le Mars, IA – Mayor Dick Kirchoff

    Hutchinson, KS – Mayor Jon Daveline

    Council Bluffs, IA – Mayor Matt Walsh

    Salina, KS – Mayor Kaye J. Crawford

    Henderson, KY – Mayor Steve Austin

    Kaua’i County, HI – Mayor Bernard Carvalho

    Natchitoches, LA – Mayor Lee Posey

    Jonesville, VA – Mayor Jim Ewing

    Cottonwood, AZ – Mayor Tim Elinski

    Tuscaloosa, AL – Mayor Walt Maddox

    Tucson, AZ – Mayor Jonathan Rothschild

    Clarksdale, MS – Mayor Bill Luckett

    Baker, MT – Mayor JoDee Pratt

    Great Falls, MT – Mayor Bob Kelly

    Middletown, RI – Town Council President Robert Sylvia

    Wichita, KS – Mayor Jeff Longwell