Call reps about FAA privatization plan

To the editor:

The U.S. House of Representatives may vote on privatizing air traffic control soon. The proposed legislation, HR 2997, known as the 21st Century AIRR Act, shifts responsibility from a government agency to a private, nonprofit corporation run by airlines and other aviation interests. Such a move would likely impact the economic welfare of Lorain County and our Northeast Ohio area.

The Federal Aviation Administration in Oberlin employs over 600 people. Not only do the city and county depend on revenue from income tax, many FAA employees live in neighboring towns and counties, where loss of solid, middle-income jobs will be sorely felt as well. Our communities are already being hit with financial difficulties; this would exacerbate the problem.

Become more informed about HR 2997! Those who oppose the bill argue, in part, that transferring the air traffic control system from a governmental entity to a private monopoly does not ensure that the system will be more efficient or less costly — it will be a less transparent monopoly; transferring thousands of federal employees to the private sector will be a difficult task that might threaten workers’ pensions and rights. To criticism that FAA control systems are outdated, employees point out that the FAA is already incrementally modernizing its systems and remind people of its excellent safety record. Privatization is not the answer.

If you think it is important to keep the FAA under federal control and not be turned over to a board dominated by the airlines and their affiliates, contact your U.S. representatives now and ask where they stand on the bill, urging them to vote against it.

Linda Slocum

Vice President, Oberlin City Council