Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson Votes Against Bill to Privatize the Air Traffic Control System
Washington, DC - (Friday, February 12, 2016) - Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson voted against legislation containing a controversial proposal to privatize our nation’s air traffic control (ATC) system during the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee markup of H.R. 4441, the Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization (AIRR) Act. The measure was approved by a vote of 32 to 26, with only Republicans voting in favor of the bill.
The AIRR Act, a six-year reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), would remove the Air Traffic Organization that has served the flying public well for decades from the FAA’s control and would hand over responsibility to a private, not-for-profit board that is dominated by industry interests and businesses.
“I have great reservations about the privatization of our air traffic control system,” said Congresswoman Johnson. “I think it is irresponsible and potentially harmful to jeopardize the flying public by putting their safety in the hands of a private corporate board. Any major changes to our air traffic system, part of the biggest and most complex airspace in the world, must be met with extreme caution moving forward.”
The Republican’s plan to privatize ATC would hand over a public asset worth tens of billions of dollars to a private corporation – for free. Privatizing air traffic control has both constitutional as well as national security and safety implications while creating new user fees that could ultimately result in increased costs for passengers.
“When I look to other examples of partial privatization of public service, such as with the postal service, I see all of the damage that it caused. The privatization of the air traffic control system is yet another instance of gutting a critical public service to improve efficiency and streamline operations, with no evidence to support that claim. In fact, similar privatization initiatives have proven to result in decreased efficiency and inferior service to the American public.”
U.S. Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson is the ranking member of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology and the highest-ranking Texan on the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure. She represents the 30th Congressional District of Texas, which includes Downtown Dallas, Fair Park, Kessler Park, Old East Dallas, Pleasant Grove, South Dallas & South Oak Cliff; all of Cedar Hill, DeSoto, Duncanville, Hutchins, Lancaster & Wilmer and parts of Ferris, Glenn Heights, South Grand Prairie, Oak Lawn, Ovilla, Uptown/Victory Park and West Dallas.