This concept has the bipartisan support of numerous former leaders of the FAA and Department of Transportation, as well as most major airlines, the air traffic controllers' union, and business groups. Thune has previously suggested that there is not enough support on his committee to move an FAA reauthorization bill in the coming weeks that includes air traffic reform. Once collected, the funds are deposited into a trust fund. Congress then authorizes the use of the funds during an annual appropriations process.
Meanwhile, small airports are concerned high user fees will favor large airlines and make it more hard for private pilots to fly.
US President Donald Trump signs principles of proposed reforms to the air traffic control system during an event at the White House in Washington, DC, U.S. June 5, 2017.
"We live in a modern age yet our air traffic control system is stuck, painfully, in the past", Trump said, noting the FAA had been working to upgrade the system for years.
"That is one of the areas administration would be mirroring other countries and how they operate privatized control towers", said DuRay. As reported by Bloomberg, groups representing private plane manufacturers have expressed concern smaller airports may be overlooked and see a fall in service.
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In addition to fears that the system would drive up the cost of air travel, Democrats argue that the change is both unnecessary and the advanced technologies may be too much for carriers to handle, especially in light of computer glitches experienced by major US airlines. So, that begs the question, is this a tax shift or really a tax cut? "You look at private ATC in other countries, and it has had a tremendously negative impact on general aviation". "But after billions and billions of tax dollars spent and the many years of delays, we're still stuck with an ancient, broken, antiquated, disgusting system that doesn't work". "Honestly, they didn't know what the hell they were doing", Trump said.
Critics also fear government bureaucracy. The report found there needs to be a more stable funding structure for air traffic control than now exists but also could not guarantee that a private corporation would speed up efforts to modernize the nation's current system.
House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California pointed to past opposition from both parties to privatization plans, saying it would "hand control of one of our nation's most important public assets to special interests and the big airlines".
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He wants to see the air-traffic-control system's 300 facilities, infrastructure, technology and 30,000 personnel folded into a not-for-profit corporation.