Trump Unveils Air Traffic Privatization Plan, Amid Push to Sell Transportation Infrastructure to Corporate America

(Photo: Neuwieser)(Photo: Neuwieser)

The White House on Monday announced its plan to privatize the US air traffic control system.

President Trump did not reveal many details of the sell-off, simply stating that he would be “proposing new principles to Congress.”

Trump also said the sale would go to “one great company that can piece it all together,” and that it would be “non-profit” and “self-financing.”

The President claimed that “passenger advocates [and] pilot unions” support the plan, but one major labor stakeholder said that it is awaiting crucial details.

“We look forward to reviewing the specifics of the air traffic control (ATC) reform legislation so we can evaluate whether it satisfies our Union’s principles, including protecting the rights and benefits of the ATC workforce,” said National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) President Paul Rinaldi.

NATCA has said that it considers the incumbent system to be “unacceptable,” but the union will “oppose any ATC reform proposal that would institute a for-profit model.”

Though Trump stated the company would be “non-profit,” any such entity could still effectively extract exorbitant revenues from passengers, if it grants executives high salaries.

Rinaldi last month stated that NATCA takes issue with the status quo due to unpredictable levels of financing caused by Congressional fighting over government funding.

Previously-routine votes on government funding have become increasingly politicized after the 2010 midterm, when the Tea Party wave saw Republicans take back the House of Representatives.

The Federal Aviation Administration currently oversees the nation’s 14,000 air traffic controllers.

Trump’s announcement on air traffic privatization comes amid a broader roll-out of an infrastructure plan — one which will allow corporate America to assume greater control of the nation’s transportation systems.

The proposal is centered around $200 billion in public expenditures designed to spur an additional $800 billion in private capital injections. Private investors will be awarded with ownership rights of bridges, airports, and highways, as International Business Times recently pointed out.

“Those initiatives echo plans laid out by Goldman Sachs in its SEC filings dating back to at least 2008,” IBT also said, noting that top White House economic adviser Gary Cohn used to work for Goldman, immediately before joining the Trump administration.

Left-of-center lawmakers have blasted the proposal. Late last month, the Congressional Progressive Caucus called on lawmakers to “prioritize public investment over corporate giveaways and selling off public goods.”