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    Trump Pivots to Infrastructure, including Privatizing Air Traffic Control

    Trump Pivots to Infrastructure, including Privatizing Air Traffic Control

    “infrastructure week”

    Obamacare repeal and tax reform seem to be in political limbo for the moment. In the meantime, Trump is moving forward with his plan to improve infrastructure.

    John Wagner reports at the Washington Post:

    Trump plans week-long focus on infrastructure, starting with privatizing air traffic control

    President Trump will seek to put a spotlight on his vows to privatize the nation’s air traffic control system and spur $1 trillion in new investment in roads, waterways and other infrastructure with a weeklong series of events starting Monday at the White House.

    The events — billed as “infrastructure week” — are part of a stepped-up effort since the president’s return a week ago from his first foreign trip to show that the White House remains focused on its agenda, despite cascading headlines about investigations into his administration’s ties to Russia.

    The president has invited executives from major airlines to join him as he kicks off the week with one of his more controversial plans: spinning off the air traffic control functions of the Federal Aviation Administration to a nonprofit corporation.

    It’s an idea that’s been tried many times before dating back to the Clinton administration and most recently last year in legislation championed by Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), chairman of the House Transportation Committee. His bill never made it to the Senate, where several key GOP members resisted the idea of transferring government assets to a corporation.

    Of course, this has much to do with jobs, one of Trump’s favorite focal points.

    Roberta Rampton of Reuters:

    Trump to hit the road for a jobs-focused reset in tough week

    President Donald Trump will hit the road next week to ramp up his long-promised plan to overhaul the nation’s aging airports, roads and railways, a push that could energize his supporters and distract from political intrigue in Washington.

    The infrastructure push – which will include a trip to Cincinnati, Ohio – comes as the White House seeks to refocus attention on core promises to boost jobs and the economy made by Trump last year during his campaign for office…

    During his campaign, Trump promised a 10-year, trillion-dollar program to modernize decrepit infrastructure – a plan that holds bipartisan appeal because of its job-creating potential, and that will require backing from the U.S. Congress.

    Legislative wins have eluded Trump thus far. He kicked off his policy push with healthcare and tax reform, initiatives that have become bogged down in process and controversy. The infrastructure push will offer some fresh ideas for the White House and lawmakers alike to discuss.

    This is going to present a challenge to Trump and Congressional Republicans who aren’t usually big on infrastructure spending. After the healthcare debacle however, Trump could use a legislative victory.

    Democrats will probably hate the idea just because it’s Trump’s but what else is new?


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    snopercod | June 4, 2017 at 1:10 pm

    I am dead set against “Privatizing”. What that really means is charging private pilots directly for ATC services rather then via fuel taxes (19.4c per gallon for 100LL). It would absolutely kill general aviation to charge pilots $35 each time they land or file a flight plan. This morning, for example, I went up and did four touch and go landings just to have some fun and stay proficient. That cost me about $20 in fuel, of which $1.40 was federal taxes. A lot of us would have to give up flying altogether if this foolish idea were ever to become law.

      Merlin in reply to snopercod. | June 5, 2017 at 10:27 am

      The FAA has been successfully contracting ATC at level 1 and 2 facilities for years already. Their controllers and supervisors are not FAA academy products, although they are required to hold an FAA Control Tower Operator’s license and operate in accordance with FAA Order 7110.65 just like the real guys.

    tom swift | June 4, 2017 at 2:14 pm

    None of this strikes me as being anywhere in the list of Top Ten problems sitting in the Federal government’s “In” basket.

    Privatization should at least be studied, in the context of privatized prisons. (California’s government prison guards blindly fund the democrat party with very big money, in exchange for very big pensions at 50 – and these pensions inure to guards’ children (I know of a 27 year old woman who will get her father’s prison guard pension for life (her father died, off-duty, after retirement, while she was an adult.))

    The idea will be to keep SEIU out. Even if the government stays in the air traffic control business, SEIU still can have inroads.

    The bottom line here is that we now have Republican leadership in every branch of the government. The problem now isn’t the democrats, but the GOPe.

    Ragspierre | June 4, 2017 at 8:17 pm

    BIG GOVERNMENT can “privatize” in some VERY bad ways.

    IFFFFFF privatization takes the form of a market-driven system, fine. It will TEND to be vastly better and more efficient.

    OTOH, the “privates” could be Crony, Inc. This could be awful.

    Remember that facist economics APPEARS to be a “private-sector” deal, but the enterprise remains under the control of the central government. See AMTRAK.

    buckeyeminuteman | June 5, 2017 at 5:02 pm

    The stimulus package was a total waste. Why privatize ATC when you’re just going to give a bunch a federal money to other private industries. Leave well enough alone.

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