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Trump unveils plan to upgrade air traffic control system

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Ted Cruz and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California, airline industry executives, union members and others to the event in the East Room.

Trump spoke of infrastructure improvements during his presidential campaign as a bipartisan plank in his platform. But the actual structural incentives that supposedly make private actors better would still be absent. "It's a game-changer". Opponents say it gives too much power to the airlines and would stifle access to the skies for private pilots. The proposal is supposed to kick off "infrastructure week" - a public relations blitz highlighting the administration's plans to update the country's sagging infrastructure and create jobs.

On Wednesday, Trump will travel to Cincinnati to talk about improvements to the 12,000 miles (19,300 km) of inland waterways, dams, locks and ports critical for shipping farm products.

Cohn said governors and mayors are scheduled meet with Trump at the White House on Thursday for a listening session focused on the efficient use of tax dollars for infrastructure projects.

The FAA oversees more than 50,000 flights in the USA per day.

Even under a congressional privatization plan, the FAA would continue to provide safety oversight of the system.

For years, in order to keep air traffic control free from political influence, the International Civil Aviation Organization has recommended that countries separate aviation regulators from air traffic providers.

Their union, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, endorsed Shuster's bill after winning assurances that controller wages, benefits and collective bargaining rights would be protected. "Air traffic control is a 24/7, high-tech service business", Robert Poole, director of transportation policy at the Reason Foundation, tells us. Of those positions, 28 are located in Allentown. "We will launch this air travel revolution by modernizing the outdated system of air traffic control".

A vintage illustration of an air traffic controller.

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Shuster said the president's comments Monday "shined a light" on the need to change the FAA and the ATC system.

Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., chairman of the House Transportation Committee, embraced the concept of privatization a year ago and fought to win the approval of such a bill in his committee.

MCEVERS: The president's plan to modernize air traffic control by privatizing it has a number of supporters and some critics, too.

In a report last month, the Congressional Research Service assessed some of the recurring hurdles in Congress as air-traffic-control improvements were debated over many decades, either in the guise of privatization or corporatization.

"That would be very hard to pass in the Senate", said another Republican opponent, Sen. "They have modern systems". "The current system can not keep up, hasn't been able to keep up for many years".

Chief among those has been Republican congressman Bill Shuster, who is also chair of the House Transportation committee. NavCanada can raise private capital, make long-term financial commitments, and it recently lowered the fees it charges airlines.

The administration believes a non-governmental, not-for-profit entity with a 13-member board could transition current responsibilities away from the FAA and in the process move to a user-fee system bolstered by outside borrowing.

But winning congressional approval could prove hard. Sen. Democrats have largely opposed the changes, warning that airline interests would dominate the proposed board, overseeing an estimated 300 air traffic facilities and around 30,000 employees. "It means Trump tolls from one end of America to the other, and huge profits for financiers who, when they put up the money want to be repaid by the average driver, worker and citizen", Schumer said.

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