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On behalf of FreedomWorks’ activist community, I urge you to contact your representative and ask him or her to vote YES on the 21st Century Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization (AIRR) Act, H.R. 2997. The bill would provide necessary reform to the FAA by modernizing air traffic control (ATC), streamlining regulations, and improving outreach to consumers.
The bill is specifically designed to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA), which expires and runs out of funding in September. The FAA has complete authority in creating and enforcing all federal air transportation regulations on both airports and planes. The AIRR Act will provide some necessary reform and help reduce the FAA’s overreach.
One of the most prominent points of reform is that it would take the ATC, which guides airplanes from destination to destination, out of federal hands and transform it into a non-profit corporation. At the moment, the ATC has come under fire because it uses technology that has not been updated in decades, has been subject to increasing flight delays, and is wasteful spending.
Sixty countries have already seen vast improvements by separating ATC from their safety regulator, including Canada, which saw productivity increase by 37 percent while costs decreased by 30 percent. This provides a large body of evidence and precedent that the AIRR Act will greatly improve air transportation quality overall.
Another great reform the AIRR Act accomplishes is that it helps streamline the regulatory process at the ATC. If passed, the bill would create the Safety Oversight and Certification Advisory Committee (SOCAC), which would advise the Secretary of Transportation on ways to address regulatory burdens to make getting certification easier and simpler while consulting with the private sector to address issues and establish clear goals for the FAA in order to achieve those objectives. The bill will also cut red tape on certification processes, general aviation pilots, and seek to provide a more consistent regulatory framework.
Finally, the AIRR Act is also aimed at improving the experience and rights of fliers. The bill would allow for more transparency by allowing airports to disclose how much government taxes and fees will be a part of total costs. It also protects consumers by preventing them from being bumped off a flight they had purchased and were promised to be on after they have gotten on the plane.
While we are disappointed that the AIRR Act doesn’t address the passenger facility charge (PFC), which would give airports more flexibility to build infrastructure, and reduce the amount of federal funding airports receive, the bill still transfers federal control over airports back to the private sector, where it belongs. This will improve consumer experience and reduce costs.
FreedomWorks will count the votes for the AIRR Act, H.R. 2997, when calculating our Scorecard for 2017 and reserves the right to score related votes. The scorecard is used to determine eligibility for the FreedomFighter Award, which recognizes Members of the House and Senate who consistently vote to support economic freedom and individual liberty.
Adam Brandon, President, FreedomWorks