In a message to NATCA members earlier today, the NATCA National Executive Board announced the organization would be supporting House Transportation Committee Chairman Bill Shuster's proposal to reform the air traffic control system and establish a stable funding source that will help fuel its growth well into the future. Excerpts are as follows:
"After extremely careful review, consideration, and deliberation, we have reached a decision: NATCA supports this bill.”
"We applaud the very hard work that the Committee has done to think outside the box and come up with a comprehensive bill that addresses the concerns we have shared with them. While the legislation currently addresses NATCA’s primary issues of concern, we want to emphasize that today is only the beginning stage of the legislative process.”
"Part of that process will soon include a proposal by Committee Ranking Member Peter DeFazio (D-OR-4). The Ranking Member will propose an alternate model for ensuring a stable, predictable funding stream for the FAA, while at the same time protecting employees and ensuring the safety of the NAS. We appreciate the effort he and his staff have made and look forward to giving that proposal’s language the same complete and rigorous review."
"We want to assure you that we treat this decision with extraordinary care and precision. In reviewing this bill, we found that it is in alignment with all of our organization’s policies, practices, and principles. We made sure that we could clearly see how this bill will protect the NAS and allow it to continue to grow."
"Last year, we told you – and stated publicly – that any proposed restructuring of the FAA and its funding mechanism through FAA reauthorization legislation must achieve these four things:
- Safety and efficiency must remain the top priorities;
- Stable, predictable funding must adequately support air traffic control services, staffing, hiring and training, long-term modernization projects, preventative maintenance, and ongoing modernization to the physical infrastructure;
- Robust and continued growth of the aviation system is ensured; and
- A dynamic aviation system that continues to provide services to all segments of the aviation community, from commercial passenger carriers and cargo haulers, to business jets, to general aviation, from the major airports to those in rural America.
"We can tell you that this bill achieves each of these four things.
"As you all know, language in proposed legislation is often changed or amended at various points throughout the legislative process. We will continue to vigorously and carefully review this legislation at all times and push for its improvement. If at any time there are changes to this bill, we will immediately examine them to ensure the bill continues to align with our organization’s policies, practices, and principles. We reserve the right to withhold our support if any changes cause the bill to violate our principles."