Infrastructure improvement program would extend beyond calls to break ATC away from FAA.
A program being considered by the White House could see airports in the United States go under private control, with an improvement plan that could exceed $1 trillion. The Guardian reports the infrastructure improvement plans are the result of key meetings with the leaders of America’s largest corporations.
The meetings took place on Tuesday, April 11, 2017, with representation from companies including General Electric, PepsiCo and Walmart. Among the discussions were plans to improve the American air infrastructure, which resulted in the idea of privatizing airports.
Moving airports from publicly-operated entities to private companies is not a new idea. In 2016, the Cato Institute released a study that suggested privatizing 500 American airports, noting the success other international airports around the world have experienced through a similar process.
In the past, President Donald Trump has touted a plan to release $1 trillion to infrastructure improvements, which would include airports. However, in review of the plan after Tuesday’s discussions, the sum may not cover all the improvement plans.
“That was a figure that people discussed but it wasn’t hard and fast and in fact I think President Trump at one point mentioned that perhaps it should be more,” attorney Phillip Howard, who attended the meetings, told The Guardian. “Fixing infrastructure’s really important and it’s going to cost.”
Although the plan could go to Congress in the coming weeks, bipartisian support to improve airports is not guaranteed. Both Democrats and moderate conservatives have expressed concern about a bill that could cost over $1 trillion and dependent on privatization or public-private partnerships.
The discussion is the latest idea to privatize the American air infrastructure in part. In 2016, legislators considered a plan which would take air traffic control away from the Federal Aviation Administration and move it into a semi-private corporation.