Before the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee holds a hearing today on FAA Reauthorization: Perspectives on Rural Air Service and the General Aviation Community, several agricultural and aviation groups gave a piece of their mind on the matter.
The Agriculture Retailers Association, Alliance for Aviation Across America, Crop Life America, League of Rural Voters , National Agricultural Aviation Association, National Council of Agricultural Employers, National Farmers Union, National Grange of the Patrons of Husbandry, National Women in Agriculture Association, and USA Rice Federation released a letter urging Congress to oppose privatization of our nation’s air traffic control system.
The group said the proposal to privatize air traffic control is being pushed predominantly by the big, commercial airlines, and would take air traffic control away from Congressional oversight and put it under the purview of a private board of mostly commercial interests. The board would direct everything from taxes and fees, to airport investments and access.
According to the letter:
“Rural communities, agriculture, and small businesses stand to lose the most under a privatized system, where there would be no Congressional oversight to ensure that all stakeholders and communities have access to air transportation… Under a privatized system, a private board dominated by the largest commercial operators would undoubtedly direct resources and investments to the largest hub airports and urban areas where these investments would be most likely to benefit their bottom line.”
This group of rural and agricultural organizations joins a growing number of voices raising concerns about the proposal to privatize the air traffic control system, including local elected officials, consumer advocates, free market groups, major Committees in Congress, chambers of commerce, small businesses, and the American voters.