...Committee Chairman Wants Bill Passed

  • E-Mail this Article
  • View Printable Article
  • Text size:

    • A
    • A
    • A

Of course, the language, as it is currently before Congress, has its supporters, including Rep. John Mica, the powerful chairman of the House Aviation Subcommittee. He told the National Business Aviation Association convention that NATCA's fears of wholesale privatization of ATC are unfounded. He also offered a cursory assessment of the Department of Transportation's Inspector General's report on the contract tower program, saying the report found that in most cases, comparable FAA towers are "more error prone and more costly compared to contract towers." NATCA and its supporters have previously attacked the report, saying its data is suspect because of inconsistencies in error reporting in the different types of towers. The union has also suggested that contract-tower costs are spiraling out of control. Mica has also apparently been telling reporters that the political battle has been won and supporters of the conference report have the votes they need to carry it. Both Brown and Carr scoffed at the suggestion. "If they had the votes, it would be on the floor (of the House and Senate) right now," said Brown. He dismissed Mica's comments as "Republican bravado." The administration has been floating a compromise but Carr said it might actually be worse, in his mind, than the conference report. The administration has suggested that the whole section on privatization be simply dropped but that would also eliminate a guarantee that the bulk of the ATC system will stay in government hands through 2007. Meanwhile, the clock ticks toward the next deadline, as the current funding extension runs out in less than two weeks. Stay tuned ...