A nonpartisan think tank is calling for sweeping reforms to the nation’s air traffic control system, as lawmakers in Washington prepare to assemble legislation reauthorizing the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
In a new report released Thursday, the Eno Center for Transportation advocates for separating air traffic control from the FAA and moving it to a government corporation or an independent nonprofit organization. The government would still administer grants and maintain safety oversight, under the proposal.
The report also proposes funding the system through user fees, instead of taxes and general funds.
One of the chief arguments behind the spin-off plan is that air traffic control operations, which are subject to the annual appropriations process, face constant political and funding uncertainty. Eno points out that “many other developed countries have already departed from this model.”
“Only an entity outside the direct control of government will have the necessary independence to implement modern technologies at the pace needed to meet demand,” said Rui Neiva, the report’s co-author.