Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., has announced he is no longer pursuing the separation of air traffic control from the FAA. After a couple of attempts and massive opposition from hundreds of groups with a stake in aviation, Shuster,House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman, conceded Tuesday his bill doesn’t have the support to pass. “Despite an unprecedented level of support for this legislation – from bipartisan lawmakers, industry, and conservative groups and labor groups alike – some of my own colleagues refused to support shrinking the federal government by 35,000 employees, cutting taxes, and stopping wasteful spending,” Shuster wrote in a statement. Instead, he said he’ll work toward long-term funding for the FAA in a proper reauthorization bill.
Shuster proposed moving air traffic control to a nonprofit corporation run by a board of directors that most in general aviation believed would be dominated by airline interests. The initiative also had the support of President Donald Trump but Shuster could not muster enough congressional support. AOPA was the first to react and while President Mark Baker acknowledged the massive lobbying effort that helped kill Shuster’s bill, he also pledged support for Shuster’s call for stable funding for the FAA. “We look forward to working with Chairman Shuster and other leaders in Congress on a bill that improves aviation for every American and ensures our skies remain the safest in the world,” Baker said.