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Whitney: Congress made the right decision by not privatizing air traffic control

The recent Washington Post commentary, "Depressing thing about the FAA bill," published May 7 unfortunately failed to recognize the enormous harm that privatizing air traffic control would pose to communities like ours around the country.

The truth is that the big airlines were primarily the ones pushing for this proposal, which would turn over governance and oversight over our air traffic control system to a private board dominated by, you guessed it, the big airlines themselves. These private interests would have the power to direct resources to their own big city jobs, set taxes and fees and run the system for their own benefit without any oversight from Congress.

That's why a wide range of local elected officials, chambers of commerce, agricultural organizations, rural advocates, industry associations, small business owners, consumer organizations, national security experts, charitable organizations, and aviation experts, on the other hand, have spoken out in opposition to air traffic control privatization.

Currently our FAA and Congress oversee our air traffic control system, and this is the way it should be, so that our air transportation system serves airports, aircraft and communities of all sizes. This is especially important as small and mid-size communities have already seen a 20 percent reduction in service.

I for one am very happy to see Congress move forward with reauthorizing the FAA without privatizing the nation's air traffic control system, and look forward to working with members of Congress to protect air service to communities of all sizes.

Whitney is president and CEO of the Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce.

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