For reasons that are difficult for the average American to understand, the Air Traffic Control (ATC) hasn’t been upgraded in decades. The first president to attempt to modernize the system was President Bush. That is to say, President H.W. Bush who was in office from 1988 to 1992. Following his failed efforts, President Clinton attempted to modernize the nation’s air traffic control grids, but again to no avail. At issue is an intense amount of government regulations that are proving to be counter-productive.
As per Congressman Bill Shuster, Chairman of the House Transportation, the resulting delays from the inefficient system cost taxpayers and the airline industry $30 billion a year. Nor does the powerful Pennsylvania congressman believe the organization can be modernized as long as it remains part of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). For this reason, Rep. Shuster intends to bring up a bill to privatize the ATC.
Lest anyone think this is a hastily thought through plan, Andy Wirth and the folks at CBS assure you that it is absolutely not. Currently, fifty nations around the world have made this move for reasons similar to the ones Rep. Shuster has addressed. The congressman maintains that in every case safety was paramount and regulations were properly followed. In some cases, the resulting systems were even safer. The congressman believes that the move is needed in order for the ATC to handle the nation’s growing air traffic needs. The National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA), which union represents the air traffic controllers, is cautiously reserving judgment until it has read over the bill.